(A version of this blog post was distributed as the Climate Caretakers Weekly Prayer Newsletter of January 8,2019)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 NIV
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. – Genesis 2:15 NIV
One college senior said that he had been led by God to turn his engineering degree into a springboard to law school and environmental practice. Another student said she was looking for an agency that would use her environmental degree to care for creation in the mission field. An adult youth group leader shared her vision for teaching young people at Christian camps about God’s call to care for creation. Hundreds of attendees signed creation care commitment cards to declare their individual next steps.
Hundreds indicated particular desires to take action against climate change, help their churches or campus fellowship groups care for Continue reading →
Climate Change is not a “tomorrow” problem. These photos come from within a couple miles of my house on Hubbard Ave near Park St in Middleton, Wisconsin in the aftermath of August 20ths torrential downpours. My wife’s and my house lost electrical power last week from 9 pm that Monday to about 7 am Tuesday but only had a little water seepage in the basement. We did have to mount a rescue expedition after the downpour finally lightened to retrieve our daughter. Roads were nevertheless still obstructed by debris, water and abandoned cars. She and her car had sheltered with others at the Denny’s restaurant near WestTowne Mall from the street flooding deluge. Sadly, one man was swept away by roadside floodwaters to his death a few blocks away.
Meanwhile in Middleton, police directed patrons of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to not leave due to flood waters surging through surrounding streets. Nearby, customers, employees and random Continue reading →
John 12:13-15 (NIV)They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
As I sat in the sanctuary this past Palm Sunday I reflected on how this holy day might shape a sharing I hoped to make. I wanted to inform and inspire my fellow congregants about creation care and Christian missions. I also wanted to invite prayer for the fast approaching April 6 & 7, 2018 conference on those very two essentials. Many hands , including some from Care of Creation, had helped plan and prepare “Creation Care at the Frontiers of Missions“.
Of course within Missions we find the Gospel, within the Gospel we find creation care, within creation care we find climate care, and – it clicked suddenly – within Palm Sunday we find creation. In the Continue reading →
Last year, immediately after the 45th President’s inauguration January 20, 2017, people of faith in Madison, WI joined with multitudes around the country. They participated in prayer vigil events over the course of the first 100 Hours of the new presidency. They implored God to guide the new administration to “Keep Good Faith On Our Climate Commitments.” Prayerful reflection and thoughtful exhortation aptly drew from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, life and spirit. People gathered in the shadow of his birthday and holiday as well as on the near eve of Black History Month. As then, so again now, the words offered up by Rev. Nick Utphall drew from Rev. King to speak timely truth to power and encouragement to those laboring for justice – racial, environmental, and economic. Despite disappointing progress and discouraging regress, God calls us to faithfully persevere NOW:
A lot depends on perspective in these days, and so depending on your perspective, you might find it either a fitting coincidence or grotesquely ironic that this week ending in inauguration began with the observance of Martin Luther King day.
Whether good or ill, I’ve been considering the Rev. King’s words and example amid this moment. There are, again, things both more and less helpful.
Less helpful to me feels that grand reassurance oft repeated by Rev. King, that the arc of the moral universe is long but that it bends toward justice. Overall, I have that hope Continue reading →
As Advent invites us to prepare for the arrival of Christ, it challenges us to care for creation and protect the climate. In this article, first published in December’s Climate Caretaker’s Newsletter, I explore this challenge and suggest some responses.
The church secretary rushed into the pastor’s office and said, “This is incredible, Jesus is riding into the parking lot on a donkey. What should we do?” The pastor turned back to his keyboard, resumed typing and said, “Don’t just stand there, look busy.”
This joke comes to mind as I consider the work of Climate Caretakers and the opportunity of Advent. We have just begun these days of Advent on the journey to Christmas. It is a time, a season, for reflection and spiritual preparation. A time when, to one extent or another, churches invite their members to exercise their empathy and imagination. Advent opens up time and Continue reading →
Hurricanes regrettably link to climate change. Although pouring gasoline on the fire might not cause an explosion, it still isn’t a good idea because it will make things worse. Likewise fueling climate change by pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere might not cause any specific hurricane or extreme weather event, but it still isn’t a good idea because it will make things worse.