I’ve just come in from a walk around our office’s neighborhood. Even though winter is technically over, the landscape is brown and dead. There are no leaves on the trees. There are no leaves on the bushes. Flower beds are empty, some still covered with winter mulch. If you dropped in from, say, Florida, your reaction might well be, “Why do you guys live in a place like this? It feels so… dead!”
But it isn’t winter any more. The air is warm. Those bare branches are teeming with birds whose songs seem even louder in the stark, brown landscape. And if you know where to look, you can see buds on trees and bushes getting ready to explode with new green leaves, and pointed green sprouts in otherwise dead flower beds. It isn’t quite spring, but it isn’t winter any more – and we, having lived through another long, cold Wisconsin winter, breathe deep and rejoice. Continue reading →
Every year I try to write an Easter-themed devotional. (See some previous posts here.) Here are this year’s thoughts on the occasion of Holy Week. This will be emailed to our newsletter list in a few days, but as many on this blog and on our Facebook pages don’t get the newsletter, here’s your copy early. Enjoy – and let me know what you think in the comments.
It is the start of Holy Week. We Christians of whatever label take time this week to remember and celebrate events that are at the heart of our faith: A coronation march into an ancient city. A sham trial. A barbaric execution. An unexpected finale with earthquakes, empty tombs, and wild rumors. And finally, a dead man come to life. Euphoria, despair, confusion, victory – all in one short week. Continue reading →
Happy Easter! This is a wonderful weekend of celebration for the entire Christian church. We’re celebrating the heart of our faith, and reminding ourselves that this “religion” stands on a verifiable historical reality: Jesus rose from the dead! But Easter has particular meaning for those of us who are engaged in the ministry of caring for God’s creation. Here’s why.
It is more than 10 years since I had a memorable conversation while on a business trip to Whidbey Island, near Seattle. Being there over a weekend, I was visiting a local church for morning worship. I found myself being greeted by a friendly guy just inside the door. We got past the “I’m so and so…” and “isn’t this weather great?” and landed on “So, what brings you to our area?”
“Wangari Maathai–Nobel laureate, founder of the Green Belt Movement, and sister-in-Christ Jesus–passed away on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the age of 71. We at Eden Vigil wish her the joy of her resurrection.”
Ed has asked that I post this latest issue of the Environmental Missions Prayer Digest, something I’m happy to do. But first let me forward a story from Ed himself. On Sept. 28, Ed wrote:
Wangari was a good friend of Care of Creation Kenya. . . . She did attend a 2006 God and Creation conference – funny story there: She had been invited and finally showed up on the last day of the conference. They had to give her platform time which turned out to be right before my presentation, which was to be the closing talk of the conference. Well, she took the entire slot (45 minutes) which meant that by the time I got up to talk, it was already past lunchtime… wouldn’t have worked in the US, but these were Africans – so I just pretended there was no clock in the room and took my entire time as well (and then some, as I recall!). I had the honor of a future-Nobelist telling me after that she ‘enjoyed my talk very much.’ Of course, at that time we had no idea that she would be winning the Nobel.
This is the message we have just sent from Care of Creation to our friends and partners around the world. It’s topic is appropriate to Our Father’s World friends and readers, I think. May you have a truly blessed and deeply meaningful Holy Weekend whereever you are!
“Easter People in a Good Friday world.”
This phrase grabbed the attention of a few people earlier this week – in part, I suppose, because it was heard on NPR. Host Michele Norris was interviewing writer Ann Lamott about Easter. Citing the tension she feels between the world as it should be and the world as it is, Lamott quoted another author, Barbara Johnson: “We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.”
Of course, most of the people around us are actually Good Friday people living in a Good Friday world. Continue reading →
It is not a coincidence that Easter occurs in the springtime.
Spring is exciting, especially for those of us who live in the frozen north, as we do in Wisconsin. Returning to our house recently, my wife and I pause and glance over our flower beds as we do often at this time of year. This time she gives a little cry of joy: Hidden beneath dead leaves and other leftovers from winter isa spot of green. As we bend to look, we see another and then another: the first signs of resurrection. Frozen in below-zero soil just a few weeks ago, the flowers are coming back to life. Continue reading →
A Conversation about God, His Creation and Our Role in Creation