As we look to Sunday, May 1’s Ecology Sunday, the National Council of Churches offers us… challenges us with this Covenant of Environmental Care.
We already have 3 bins of compost “stewing” out back behind the church. We have beds of organic vegetables growing on the east side of the sanctuary building. And the pastor keeps eyeing our rooftops for the amount of solar energy they could harvest.
As we prepare for our outdoor Ecology Sunday on May 1, could you read this covenant, pray on it, share it with others, and ask yourself and God how you are to participate in the stewardship of all creation?
Healing and Defending God’s Creation
God created the earth and all that is in it… and declared it good. God’s creation is marked by wondrous complexity, interdependence and beauty.
Human beings are called by God to a caretaker’s role, the task of stewardship – tending the earth respectfully for its own sake and so that present and future generations may live on it and enjoy its fruits. Before their fall, Adam and Eve were gardeners! The gifts of creation and the responsibility of stewardship were given to all of humanity, so that all might have enough, and no one would have more than is needed and God ís justice would prevail.
In our pride and brokenness, all of humankind is in sin and separated from God. This can be seen in how the earth has not been well cared for. The water and air and land are polluted with poisons which hurt people and destroy the environment. Many species of animals and plants are endangered by the behavior of human beings. Some have even become extinct.
We have not shared the fruits of creation justly. Some people live in luxury, taking more than they need, while others are desperately poor, especially people of color.
God, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, heals and reconciles humanity and all of creation to God. We are able to become new creations – the new comes and the old passes away.
God calls the church to participate in the redemption of the world– individuals, humanity and creation. Therefore, ministries of environmental stewardship and environmental justice are significant in the mission of our congregations, association, conferences, the national setting of the church and ecumenical cooperation.
Could Old First affirm the importance of healing and defending creation as part of our mission? Could we promise to become engaged in ministries of environmental justice in the following ways:
Worship – In worship, we will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and will declare that God calls us to participate in the redemption of the world by cherishing, protecting and restoring creation.
Christian Educations – We will seek opportunities for ourselves and our children to learn more about the wonders of creation, the threats posed by human beings to the survival of creation and the possibilities of our participating in God’s redemption and justice.
Lifestyle Choices – We will accept responsibility for the choices we make– how they affect, either helping or harming, the environment– this too is part of our faithfulness, our choosing to live as disciples.
Our individual and congregation’s lifestyles will respect and cherish creation. We will form habits of consuming, conserving and sharing that serve to protect and restore the environment. In particular, we will reuse and recycle as many materials as we can and seek ways of limiting our consumption of fossil fuels.
Community, National and Global Involvement – In our community, the nation and the world, our congregation will witness to and participate in God’s redemption of creation by supporting public efforts and policies which support vulnerable people and protect and restore the degraded earth.
Evaluation – Each year we will review our previous year’s work on environmental justice and consider other ways we can participate in God’s redemption of creation.