Commentary: Acting like the Earth is the Lord’s

earth500.jpgWhat if the church were to begin to act like the earth was the Lord’s?  

It’s a simple . . . obvious question.  

Would we stand idly by while the Great Lakes return to being a dumping ground for industrial waste and sewage? (The 31% cut in the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency includes a 95% cut in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. 45 million Americans depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water.)

If the death rate in our congregations were 1,000 times what it has been for millennia, wouldn’t we hear about that every Sunday from our pastor? (The rate of species extinction today is 1,000 times what it has been over the past 60 million years.)

What if our elected leaders in Washington were to hold a book burning in front of the White House? People of every faith would pour into the streets – united in protest. But that fire is already ablaze. Any document linking CO2 to “climate change” has been removed from the EPA and NASA websites. Ask any NASA scientist.  

The flames on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland and the unbreathable smog in the air of Los Angeles prompted bipartisan (mostly Republican) leaders to launch the first Earth Day in 1970, and shortly thereafter to pass the key environmental legislation that preserved God’s creation to this day. The current administration’s attack on the cornerstone assumptions of those laws is an abomination to our creator God.  

The earth is the Lord’s.

What if the current generation of Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox were to unite around this core proclamation? What if we recognized that unity around this foundation – recognizing that the earth is the Lord’s – is more important – more consequential – more faithful – than any of the beliefs or practices that distinguish us? The same recognition would bring together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and so many more.

What if we were to join our voices and our bodies as we witness on behalf of the thousands of climate scientists whose findings over the past 50 years have led to the unassailable conclusion that climate change is real, it’s caused by humans and our generation will either embrace profound change or life as we have known it will be unknown to our children’s children?

What if the church were to begin to act like the earth was the Lord’s?  

Action #1
Include in every worship service a one-minute testimony by a church member who has taken an action to help sustain the earth.

Action #2
Review all church investments and divest from fossil fuel stock. Invite members who have done likewise with their personal portfolio to testify.

Action #3
Conduct an energy audit of your church building and take action. Consider installing solar. Invite testimony from members who have installed solar to encourage others to do likewise.

Action #4
Make this the first announcement when church gathers: As we do every week I’d like to ask those who have contacted your congressperson or the White House to advocate for laws and policies that will sustain God’s creation – would you please rise and receive our applause…. Next Sunday I hope to see you all rise.

Action #5
Commit to include mention of climate change in the sermon at least once a month. The destruction of God’s creation – our common home – makes all other injustices even worse.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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