Job 38 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind…”I will question you, and you shall declare to me….Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass?”
Today, April 22, 2020, is the 50th anniversary of the celebration of Earth Day in the U.S. and around the world. It is a day to highlight environmental protection, in an era in which human damage to the environment is becoming more obvious. Earth Day is said to be one of the largest international secular holidays. But at New Life, it is not secular, not separate from our faith.
At New Life Lutheran, we seek to deepen our connection to the earth, through one particular spot. We seek to care for the earth, in this one piece of Hill Country land. We seek to reclaim the connection our ancestors had between the God of the church and the Creator of all the earth. We seek to connect the practice of our faith with the practice of caring for creation.
This month’s issue of the web magazine AllCreation.org features a video prayer from me, about praying with and on the earth where you are this strange earth day. Today we are in our homes, as a virus spreads around the world. We are helping our fellow humans by keeping apart, so fewer people die. And this is also a small gift to the planet - a little less pollution from driving so much for a few weeks. Today maybe we can hear the earth breathe a little easier, this Earth Day.
Today we also highlight our new 2020 Covenant to Care for Creation signed by our leadership to demonstrate our commitment to the practices of creation care as a congregation. It is in many ways a no-brainer for us: we worship outdoors, we use few natural resources in our operations, we pay attention to nature and to the native plants and animals who live on the land that is our church. This document formalizes some of those commitments and also deepens our conversations with and connections to other people of faith working to restore damage to the earth through Lutherans Restoring Creation.
From the covenant: “Worship: We seek to worship throughout the year so that we express our gratitude and praise to God as creator, redeemer, and sustainer. We are committed to glorify God intentionally together with all creation. In worship, we will celebrate creation, confess our sins against creation, grieve the losses of creation, and commit ourselves to care for Earth.”
God, help us help you to care for this earth, this beautiful creation of which we are a part.
Help us find you in nature, and find joy there. Help us see you in nature, and see a small glimpse of your power and majesty. Help us recover awe.
Let us be good fellow inhabitants of this planet with other creatures, and let us be good fellow worshipers in our outdoor sanctuary. Awaken us to connections with all that is.