It would be hard to avoid bad news about the environment in the last few months. Reports in newspapers and scientific magazines have highlighted the rapid pace of climate heating with resulting loss of glaciers, rising sea levels, acceleration in extinction rates, and an increased number of severe storms. There is no question that we are at a pivotal point in the history of earth. How we respond in the next few years will determine the fate of the planet. Yet there is some good news in all of this. That is that there are people raising their voices and leading the way in responding and rallying others. People like Greta Thunberg, Autumn Peltier, Isra Hirsi, Jerome Foster II, and Helena Gualinga. And while we have to act, there is still much we can do to ameliorate the crisis we have created.
As I have written before, my take on this is that it is at heart a theological crisis. For generations humans have misread Genesis as carte blanche to do whatever we want, to view the earth as a giant resource and other creatures as subordinate–existing only for us. I believe this grieves the heart of God, and it has certainly harmed the world God created and sustains. We desperately need to let go of our human hubris and recalibrate our relationship with the earth. We need to recognize that we are part of God’s beloved Creation, an important part, but only one part. To recognize that God delights in buzzards, butterflies, and beluga whales, as well as in humans. To recognize that we are in a web of life with each creature, every plant and animal, playing its part, interdependent on each other. Once we “get” this, deep in our bones, then we will change.
Once again this fall, St. Peter’s will be observing a season of Creation. A season in which we remember, reflect on, and celebrate, this marvelous, magical world that God so loves. I invite you to join us as we take some time to look around us at this beautiful blue-green world and renew our commitment to caring for all of God’s beloved.