Climate Justice: Additional Resources

Links

For a variety of collects, prayers and hymns that focus on God’s creation, visit the links below to parish bulletins from Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tucson, Ariz. Worship materials come from the Episcopal Church’s Season of Creation Liturgical Committee, the Rev. Steve Keplinger (rector of Grace St. Paul’s) and other Anglican and ecumenical sources.

The congregation of Grace St. Paul’s celebrates a series of Creation Sundays in October, but the worship materials can be adapted for use anytime during the year.

First Sunday of Creation Season, October 6, 2013

Second Sunday of Creation Season, October 13, 2013

Third Sunday of Creation Season, October 20, 2013

Fourth Sunday of Creation Season, October 27, 2013

Creation Sunday, October 7, 2012

Creation Sunday, October 9, 2011

Creation Sunday, October 10, 2010

A variety of creative worship material is also available from the Anglican Church of Southern African Environmental Network

Special Resources for the Third Sunday of Easter/Creation Sunday/Earth Day

Creation Justice Ministries offers free resources for Earth Day 2015  (April 22, 2015), which include:

“Have You Anything Here to Eat? Sustainable Food in a Changing Climate,” a downloadable pdf, discussing how, on Earth Day Sunday, we reflect on the impact of climate change and food production
• Theological notes on sermon preparation for the Third Sunday of Easter
• Ideas and activities for Christian education for children and adults
• Hymn and song suggestions

Earth Day Sunday Prayer Station

On one or more tables around the sanctuary, place a state, regional or world map along with a basket of small stones. Invite worshipers to place a stone on the map and say a prayer of thanksgiving and blessings for farmers who grow food for us to eat; also to pray for all who struggle with climate change as they try to grow food, locally and around the world.

Climate Justice: 3 Easter/Creation Sunday

Communion with creation

April 19, 2015

Scripture Focus: Luke 24: 36b-48

“While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them,‘Have you anything here to eat?’” (Luke 24:41)

An Episcopal bishop named Mark Macdonald tells a wonderful story about leading worship in a congregation in the middle of Navajo Nation. It was Easter morning, and when the time came to read the Gospel account of Jesus’ resurrection, Bishop Macdonald stood up and began reading in Navajo: “It was early in the morning…” Almost before the words were out of his mouth, “the oldest person there, an elder who understood no English, said loudly (in Navajo), ‘Yes!’”

Macdonald thought: “it seemed a little early in the narrative for this much enthusiasm,” so he assumed he had made a mistake – maybe he had mispronounced the words in Navajo. So he tried again: “It was early in the morning…’” This time he heard an even louder and more enthusiastic Yes. After Communion, the bishop went up to one of the lay leaders and asked if he had pronounced the words correctly. Oh, she said, looking surprised, of course. Well, asked the bishop, then why was the older woman so excited? Oh, he was told, “The early dawn is the most important part of the day to her. Father Sky and Mother Earth meet at that time and produce all that is necessary for life. It is the holiest time of the day. Jesus would pick that good time of day to be raised.”[1]

Bishop Macdonald comments that while the early dawn is certainly the best time for new life, he had never considered the possibility that this “observation about the physical word could be theologically and spiritually revealing, that it suggested a communion between God, humanity, and creation that is fundamental to our… existence.” It took him a while to absorb this. He writes: “An elder with no formal schooling had repositioned the central narrative of my life firmly within the physical world and all its forces and interactions. It was,” he says, “an ecological reading of a story that, for me, had been trapped inside a flat virtual world misnamed ‘spiritual’.”

Today we are celebrate Creation Sunday, the Sunday closest to Earth Day, and today we give thanks for the gift of God’s Creation and the sacred power of the natural world. Like Bishop Macdonald, today we remember and reclaim what he calls “a primal, long-ignored layer of spiritual consciousness that [is] also an ecological consciousness.”[2]

I don’t know about you, but I grew up thinking of “spirituality” as completely ethereal. The God I grew up with had no body. Being a good Christian was all about distancing oneself from the body and transcending the body – both one’s own body and the “body” of the natural world. The natural world and its abundance of buzzing, blooming, finned, and feathered creatures was essentially irrelevant and dispensable, only the backdrop to what was really important: human beings. Since the time of the Reformation 500-some years ago, Christianity – at least in the West – has had little to say about the salvation of the natural world and the whole cosmos, as if only one species, Homo sapiens, is of any real interest to God.

So what a healing it is, what a restoration of the ancient biblical understanding – an understanding that has never been forgotten by the indigenous people of the land – to know that the Earth is holy. Its creatures are holy. The whole created world is lit up with the power and presence of God.

Our Gospel story this morning is full of meanings, but surely one of them is that the Risen Christ is alive in the body, in our bodies, in the body of the Earth. When the disciples are talking how they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, “Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost” (Luke 24:36-37). But Jesus does not come as a ghost. He does not come as a memory or as an idea. He does not come as a wispy being from “a flat, virtual world misnamed ‘spiritual’.” He comes as a living body, a body made of flesh and bones that can touch and be touched, a body that can feel hunger and thirst and that is looking for something to eat. The Messiah suffers, dies, and rises as a body, and that must tell us something about how much God loves the body and wants to meet us in and through the body – through our bodily senses of sight and sound, through taste and touch and smell. Scripture tells us that for forty days the disciples met the living Christ through his risen body. And then, when he ascended into heaven, Jesus’ body withdrew from the disciples’ sight, so that his living presence could fill all things and so that all of us can touch and see him in the world around us, when the eyes of faith are opened.

What this means is that when you and I go out into nature, when we let our minds grow quiet and we simply gaze at a river or the blooming magnolia or the slopes of a hillside coming back to life as the first soft leaves of Spring unfold, whenever we gaze with a quiet eye, not grasping at anything and not pushing anything away, we begin to perceive that a holy, living presence fills everything we see. Wherever we gaze, the Risen Christ is gazing back at us and his presence is flowing toward us. “Peace be with you,” he is saying to us through hawk and wind, through tree and cloud and stars. “Peace be with you. I am here in the needles of the pine tree beside you that flutter in the breeze, and in the bark overlaid with clumps of lichen, each one a tiny galaxy. I am here in the ocean waves that form and dissolve on the shore, in the sand under your bare feet, in the sea gull that is crying overhead. Peace be with you. I am here, and you are part of this with me, and you are witnesses of these things.”

When our inward sight is restored, and our eyes are opened, as today’s Collect says, to behold Christ in all his redeeming work, the Earth comes alive and we perceive Christ revealing himself in every sound we hear, in every handful of dirt we hold and in every bird we see. That insight inspires us to cry out to God during the Eucharist, “Heaven and earth are full of your glory.” The God who created all things also redeems all things and fills all things. Through the crucified and risen Christ, divine love has woven together the human and natural worlds into one inter-related whole. When we are spiritually awake we feel our connection, our kinship with other living beings, human and other-than-human. We recognize that we’re in this together, that we’re part of a single, precious, and intricate web of life.

A felt sense of kinship with God’s Creation may evoke in us a certain tenderness: we want to protect the gift of belonging to a living planet. But it may also evoke our anger and our grief, for the good earth beneath our feet is the same earth that fossil fuel companies are blowing apart by mountaintop removal in order to extract coal; the same earth that is being violently injected with tons of chemicals that crack apart shale, release natural gas, and poison rivers and streams; the same earth that is flooding in some places and going dry in others, because of the abrupt changes inflicted by global warming.

The life-giving air that fills our lungs is the same air into which fossil fuel companies are pouring greenhouse gases as if the atmosphere were an open sewer, the same air that contains more carbon dioxide than it has for millions of years and whose delicate balance is being disrupted and destroyed. Our own bodies connect us to the wounding of the world, and to the cries of the poor, who are already suffering from the storms, rising seas, and food and water shortages that are caused by climate change.

To some of us, climate change may seem distant and abstract, like something that will happen to somebody else in a far-off place at a distant time in the far-off future. After all, weren’t many parts of the U.S. unusually cold this winter? Some regions endured a record-breaking, bone-chilling freeze as Arctic air poured south across the Plains and Midwest and down the Atlantic seaboard, and foot after foot of snow piled up in many cities. But unusual spells of cold weather fit into a larger pattern of climate disruption. Scientists have noticed in recent years an unusual number of extreme jet stream patterns, and they are studying how big dips in the jet stream are linked to the rapidly warming Arctic and the exceptionally warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

It turns out that the phrase “global warming” is too simple – a better term might be “global weirding.” In a warming world, we can expect more erratic and extreme fluctuations in local weather, and some places will sometimes become unexpectedly cold. Yet all the while the average global temperature is heading in only one direction: up. The year 2014 broke the record for the hottest year on Earth since record-keeping began in the 1800’s, and 14 of the warmest 15 years have occurred since the year 2000. As the environmentalist Bill McKibben has written: “We’ve changed [the planet] in large and fundamental ways… Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen.”[3] Species are going extinct at record rates. Last spring we learned that the huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting to collapse and slide into the sea in a way that scientists call “unstoppable.”

The most recent U.N. report on climate change lays out in stark terms the direct connection between climate change and the threat to global food supplies. So it is poignant to hear the Risen Christ ask his disciples, “Have you anything here to eat?” (Luke 24:41). His question resonates with the anxiety of millions of people the world over who wonder whether their crops will fail, whether the seasons will remain predictable and orderly enough to allow farmers to know what to plant and when to plant it, and whether extreme weather events such as record heat, massive droughts, and torrential floods will destroy the harvest.

We face an unprecedented period in human history. At this pivotal turning point, our choices and our moral witness make all the difference to the future of our children and our children’s children – to say nothing of the future of the planet. As Christians we honor our God-given connection to the living Earth on which all life depends, and we take our stand with all those who seek to create a just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Never before has our voice as Christians been so needed in the public square as we bear witness to a God who loves every inch of Creation and who longs for healing, justice, and to make all things new.

Deciding to protect God’s Creation will affect what we buy and what we refuse to buy, how we spend our money and how we choose to invest it. The U.N. climate chief is urging religious leaders to divest from fossil fuel companies and to ask their followers to do the same. Christiana Figueres (executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) contends: “It is time for faith groups and religious institutions to find their voice and set their moral compass on one of the great humanitarian issues of our time. Overcoming poverty, caring for the sick and the infirm, feeding the hungry and a whole range of other faith-based concerns will only get harder in a climate challenged world.”

This is the same message championed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has become an ardent spokesman for the campaign to divest from fossil fuels, just as he once advocated for divestment from apartheid in South Africa. Several Episcopal dioceses have already voted to divest, and at General Convention 2015 we hope to have a prayerful, honest, and fruitful conversation about the Episcopal Church’s investment in fossil fuels.

If ever there were a time to bear witness to our faith that life – and not death – will have the last word, now would be the time. If ever there were a time to take hold of the vision of a Beloved Community in which human beings live in right relationship with each other and with all our fellow creatures, now would be the time. The collapse of the ice sheet in Antarctica may be “unstoppable,” but so is the love that calls us to stand up for life.

We have hard work ahead of us. Fossil fuel companies now possess five times the amount of coal, gas, and oil that, if burned, would force the average global temperature to rise far higher than the 2 degree threshold that would give us a chance of preventing runaway climate change. It will be a struggle to keep that carbon in the ground, where it belongs. We will have to push hard if we are going to make a swift and timely transition to clean, safe, renewable energy, such as sun and wind.

But we trust that the Lord of life is with us in the struggle to protect life as it has evolved on this planet. The same Jesus who stands with the poor, and who asks, as they do, “Have you anything here to eat?” is the same Jesus who feeds us in every Eucharist and who asks us to become bread for the world. Communion is what we are made for. We are made for communion with God and each other and all of God’s Creation. Nature is not just a stage or backdrop for human beings to use up and destroy. And non-human creatures are not just items for our mindless domination, exploitation, and use. All of Nature and all living beings belong first to God. As the psalmist says, “The Earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1). We are the stewards of our world, the species entrusted by God with its care.

So when the celebrant lifts up the bread and the wine at the Eucharist, the whole Creation is lifted up. When the celebrant blesses the bread and wine, the whole Creation is blessed. Christ comes to us in the consecrated bread and wine, in the grain that was formed into bread and in the grapes that were pressed into wine. Christ comes to us in the sunshine that warmed the grapes and the grain, in the rainfall that watered their roots, in the hands that tended them, and that pruned and harvested them. Christ comes to us in the very ground in which the seeds of grain and grape were planted, for the risen Christ is alive in every part of Creation, offering us healing, offering us blessing. In the strength of this blessed and broken bread, and of this blessed and poured-out wine, we dare to hope that human beings will respond with grateful hearts, and will become who were made to be, a blessing to the earth.

 

— The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas serves as missioner for Creation Care in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and maintains the website RevivingCreation.org.

 

(1) Mark Macdonald, “Finding Communion with Creation,” in Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation, edited by Lyndsay Moseley and the staff of Sierra Club Books, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2008, pp. 150-151. Macdonald, the former bishop of Alaska, now serves as the World Council of Churches’ President for North America and as the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop.

(2) Ibid, p. 151.

(3) Bill McKibben, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, New York: Henry Holt and Company, Times Book, 2010, p. xiii and book jacket (http://www.billmckibben.com/)

Climate Justice: 2 Easter

Wounds of creation, wounds of Christ

April 12, 2015

Focus Scripture: John 20:19-31

“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” (John 20:19)

Every year on the Sunday after Easter Day we listen to that marvelous and mysterious story we just heard from the Gospel of John; the story of Jesus showing himself to the disciples on the evening of Easter Day and returning a week later to reassure the disciple whom we call “Doubting Thomas” that, yes, the Risen Lord is real.

“Put your finger here and see my hands,” Jesus says to Thomas, showing him the wounds. “Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” And then Thomas finds his faith and says, “My Lord and my God.”

During these 30 Days of Action, Episcopalians are reflecting on how this gospel story connects with the climate crisis in which we find ourselves. What happens when we take our concern for God’s creation and hold it to the light of this story about the wounded and risen Christ? What word of hope, what word of comfort or challenge is God speaking to us through this gospel text? How do the wounds of Christ connect with the wounds of God’s creation?

Maybe that’s the place to begin: with the wounds of God’s creation. I know I’m not the only one who sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, anxious about the basic health of the planet that God has entrusted to our care. Open the newspaper, turn on the news, scan your computer, and the latest bulletins roll in: extreme storms; record-breaking droughts in some places and massive deluges in others; melting glaciers, thawing tundra, rising seas; oceans turning acidic because of the carbon dioxide that they’ve absorbed.

When it comes to climate disruption, the scientific controversy is over. The science is settled. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists worldwide are telling us with increasing alarm that climate change is not a future threat. It is a looming and all-too-present reality. Burning fossil fuels is releasing gases into the atmosphere that make the world’s climate increasingly hot and unstable. Of course there has always been some natural variability in the planet’s average temperature, but ever since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve been forcing the climate to change in a way that human beings have never experienced before.

In just two centuries – only a blink in geologic time – we have burned so much coal, gas and oil and released so much heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher today than they’ve been for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of years. The average worldwide temperature is rising, and if we stick to business as usual and keep on our present course, we could raise average global temperatures between 5 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit in this century. That may not sound like much, but, in fact, it would make the world extremely difficult for humans and other creatures to inhabit.

Climate change isn’t just a quote-unquote “environmental” issue – it’s a “civilization” issue. It’s not just about polar bears – it’s about where our grandchildren will find clean water. It’s about how societies will handle growing epidemics of infectious diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever. It’s about where masses of people will go as rising seas drive them from their homes or when the rains don’t fall and the fields turn to dustbowls. It’s about hungry, thirsty people competing for scarce resources and reverting to violence, civil unrest or martial law in the struggle to survive.

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. So when I turn to today’s gospel story, my heart goes out to those disciples huddled fearfully in that locked-up house. One thing is certain: They are not in denial any more. They have seen the crucifixion. They have witnessed trauma and brutality. They are not about to claim that Christ’s wounds on the cross were not real, any more than we can pretend that the wounds to God’s creation are not real. Like we who face the climate crisis, the disciples have been looking death in the face, and they are scared.

What happens when we witness trauma? We feel helpless, frightened and overwhelmed. We go numb. And maybe it’s worse than that – maybe in ways we never wanted or intended, we participated in that trauma; maybe we share some responsibility for what happened and we can’t bear the sense of guilt. I wonder if the disciples feared not only something outside themselves, but also something within themselves. I wonder if, in going through the trauma of Jesus’ crucifixion, they had learned some things about themselves that they had never realized and never wanted to see. Perhaps they now recognized their own violence, their own capacity to do harm, as when Simon Peter drew his sword during Jesus’ arrest and sliced off a man’s ear. Perhaps they now recognized their weakness and fearfulness when they failed to stand by their dearest friend and teacher. Most of them had abandoned Jesus and left him to his fate; one of them had denied him three times. I wonder if after his death they felt, not just frightened, shocked, and sorrowful, but also guilty and ashamed. I wonder if they were whispering anxiously to each other, “What have we done?”

That’s a question that besets us, too, as we look around at the effects of burning fossil fuels. What have we done? When we look at the unintended but very real consequences of our way of life and of an economy that is based on fossil fuels – when we see the web of life unraveling, when we see dying coral and melting ice caps, when we see raging floods in one part of the world and growing deserts in another, when we hear how many species are dying and how scientists tell us that we’ve launched the sixth major extinction event in the planet’s history – no wonder so many of us feel paralyzed. Like it or not, intentionally or not, we’ve set something deadly into motion. What have we done? How can we live with ourselves? Can we be forgiven? What will set us free to change course and turn around?

“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you’” (John 20:19).

Can you feel the impact of that moment? The Risen Christ comes to his frightened, guilty, traumatized friends and says “Peace be with you.” He brings them peace. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Even though they have abandoned or denied him, he loves them still. In fact, in this one short passage Jesus says, “Peace be with you” three times, as if the disciples need to soak up that message, to hear it again and again – not only to undo Peter’s three-fold denial, but also to ensure that all of them, and all of us, experience that forgiveness deep in our bones. I suppose that is the beginning of our resurrected life: when we hear and actually take in how much God loves us, and how completely we are forgiven and set free to live a new life.

If we think that we’ve missed out on that experience – if we think that only other people get to know they’ve been forgiven, that love will have the last word, that life will triumph over death – then here is our good friend Thomas, wanting more than second-hand accounts of the resurrection. He wants to know its reality in his own lived experience. Thomas is insisting on a personal, direct experience of the Risen Christ, and that is what Jesus gives him. Jesus goes looking for Thomas, even moving through closed doors to find him. “Peace be with you,” Jesus says to the astonished disciple, and invites him to reach out and touch his wounded hand and side. In the intimacy of that mysterious encounter, Thomas’ faith is kindled. His doubts drop away, his fear turns to courage, and his sorrow turns to joy. “My Lord and my God!” he exclaims, in what can be read as the highpoint, the climax, of John’s gospel.

What do the disciples see as they gaze at the wounds of the risen Christ? I think they see the harsh reality of violence, suffering and death, but now they see something else, too: the wounds are radiant. They are filled with God’s presence. They are lit up with love, as if light is pouring from Jesus’ wounded hands and side. Yes – violence is real; trauma is real; death is real; but the love of God abides, endures, and can never be destroyed.

In the power of that discovery, the disciples are sent out to bear witness to the love that conquers death. For Jesus doesn’t just give them peace – he also sends them on a mission. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”  (John 20:21), he says, breathing into them the Holy Spirit, the same creative wind and energy that moved across the face of deep at the very beginning of creation. That release of energy and hope galvanized the early church. The Book of Acts recounts story after story of men and women so filled with confidence in the reality of the Risen Christ and the transforming power of the resurrection, that they became healers and justice-seekers. They disrupted the habits and patterns of the unjust status quo. They confronted the unjust political and religious powers of their day and proclaimed the reign of God.

And so it is for us. When we see and touch the wounds of God’s creation and grasp what the bishops of the Episcopal Church call “the urgency of the planetary crisis in which we find ourselves,”(1) we can receive again the peace and forgiveness of the Risen Christ. We can breathe in again the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. And then we can head out into the world to become healers of creation. Individual actions add up: We can recycle more, drive less, be sparing in our use of water, and quit using bottled water. We can turn off lights when we leave a room. Maybe we can install solar panels, eat local, organic foods, support local farms and land trusts, maybe even leave them some money in our wills. Maybe this congregation can form a “green team” or a “creation care committee” – whatever we decide to call it. Maybe we can join Interfaith Power & Light and learn to save money as we save energy.

As individuals and congregations, we can and should do everything we can to reduce our use of fossil fuels and to make a transition to clean, safe, renewable energy, but the scope and speed of the climate crisis require action on a much broader scale, as well. We need to join with other people and make it politically possible to do what is scientifically necessary. We need to push our political leaders to get this country and other countries on track to bring down the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, the uppermost level that many scientists say is safe for life as we know it to continue on this planet. What is the level today? 400 parts per million, and climbing. So we have work to do. One place to begin is to join 350.org, which is inspiring a global grassroots movement to tackle climate change.

I like to imagine a church, to imagine a diocese, in which every aspect of its life, from its preaching and worship services to its adult education and Sunday School, from its prayers to its public advocacy, grasps the urgency of protecting life as it has evolved on this planet. That is the kind of church we need today. We are facing the greatest challenge that human beings have ever faced, and I pray for the day when we commit ourselves to creating a world for our children and our children’s children that is habitable, peaceful and just.

Christianity has a powerful message to bring to a frightened and imperiled world: Yes, climate change is real, but so is the reconciling and liberating love of God. Anxiety about the future, anger and fear about the present, and regret and guilt about the past are not enough to sustain our efforts to care for creation. It is the forgiving love of God – that endless, self-sacrificing, hidden outpouring of love that we receive in every heartbeat, in every breath, in every moment – that alone will sustain our efforts to become healers of creation, both now and in the years ahead.

Like the disciples in today’s story, we don’t want to huddle in fear. We want to step out together as the Body of Christ and to greet the future with Christ’s love and peace. I give thanks for Doubting Thomas, for he expresses and symbolizes our doubt: doubt that we can stop catastrophic climate change, doubt that we can make a difference, doubt that God will be with us, doubt that resurrection is even possible. Whatever our doubts may be, wherever we’re holding back, Jesus invites us today to open ourselves to the gift of his forgiveness and to his energizing Spirit.

Jesus has faith in us, and in what we can do in his name. “Reach out your hand,” Jesus says to Thomas, and to all of us. There is so much healing that we can do, so much power to reconcile that God has given us, so much life that we can help bring forth. The Risen Christ has given us everything we need. Today at the Eucharist we will stretch out our hands to receive the body and blood of Christ, just as Thomas stretched out his hands to touch Christ’s wounded hands and side. May we open ourselves to receive the love that is stronger than death and that will never let us go, and may we then embody that love in the world around us in every way we can.

 

— The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas serves as missioner for Creation Care in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and maintains the website RevivingCreation.org.

 

(1) In 2011 the bishops of the Episcopal Church issued “A Pastoral Teaching from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church,” which begins with a call to repentance “as we face the unfolding environmental crisis of the earth.”

Climate Justice: Easter Vigil and Easter Day

Easter Vigil sermon

Easter Day sermon

THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER 

Carrying the Light of Christ into Creation

April 4, 2015

The Easter Vigil has always been one of my favorite worship services of the church year, for, as the Book of Common Prayer says, “on this most holy night” we are reminded of when “Jesus passed over from death to life.” We gather outside the church in the darkness, on the lawn in front of a fire pit, awaiting the lighting of the paschal fire. There the first flames take hold of the kindling, sizzling and blowing, as the darkness of the Lenten season begins to lighten. The Paschal Candle is lit. Processing behind the cantor and the new light of Easter, we slowly go into the church, reminded at three separate stops that we are following “the Light of Christ.”

As we enter the darkened sanctuary, our own small candles are lit to guide us to well-worn pews, pews where for generations the story of the empty tomb and the promise of Resurrection has been spoken. Yes, the beauty of the service moves me as we tell again the story of our creation, our liberation from evil and our redemption through Jesus Christ.

Our Resurrection faith tells us that the light of God shines in the darkness and that the darkness shall not overcome it. The stories of the Easter Vigil remind us that God is always with us. The covenant after the flood secures God’s commitment to humankind and to all creation, even if humanity drifts away from God’s love. The parting of the seas gives us confidence that God will be with us even if we are frightened and running for our lives. For too many years, I imagined that this retelling of our faith journey was a story only about us, the people of God.

But what if this is also a story about all God’s beloved creation, a story about all the creatures that were created and that have evolved over eons? What if the faith journey of the Easter Vigil is not only about the salvation of humankind, but also about the salvation of God’s entire created order?

I began to imagine. Instead of taking the Paschal Candle into the darkened, closed sanctuary, what if the procession continued to the seashore to proclaim“the Light of Christ” at the side of the ocean, where rising waters caused by climate change threaten the lives, homes and livelihoods of millions upon millions of people today and in the future? In the light of the Paschal Candle, we would also see the beauty of the crashing waves, and the glory of dolphins and whales leaping in the waters offshore.

What if we carried the Light of Christ to a barren hillside where many generations of trees once grew? In the light of the Paschal Candle, we would also see a healthy, intact forest, and the many creatures – owls and deer, insects, mice and fungi, foxes and bear – that shelter among its trees.

What if the Light of Christ led us to the top of a mountain and we could see the destruction of the very foundation of God’s earth through the leveling of mountains for coal? In the light of the Paschal Candle, we would look up and be awestruck by the stars that twinkle at night, the moon that crescents in the night sky and the vastness of space.

What if we brought the Light of Christ into fields and meadows, into wetlands and bogs, and perceived the rapid loss of species at a rate previously unknown in human history? In the light of the Paschal Candle, we would also savor the grassy meadows, watch wildflowers gently blowing in the breeze and spot birds in formation flying low over the plains.

As we read during this Easter Vigil in Psalm 98, “All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.” This song of hope proclaims:

“Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing. … Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, the lands and those who dwell therein. Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord.”

These words remind us of what ancient people always knew – that God’s love and care is for all creation. The light of God has always been shining everywhere, though human beings have often failed or forgotten to see it.

Our invitation this Easter Vigil is to bring the Light of Christ to “all the ends of the earth” and to remember that God’s promise of redemption and salvation is intended not just for humans, but also for the whole creation. In the light of the Paschal Candle, we are filled with gratitude and wonder. We see the preciousness of this living planet. We give thanks for its beauty and its intricate complexity.

At the same time, through the Light of Christ, we dare to face the fact that human activity has assaulted and wounded God’s creation. We recognize our shared culpability in diminishing that which God entrusted to our care. We acknowledge our longing to pass on to future generations a habitable and vibrant world.

However, the journey of our Easter Vigil does not end with the pronouncement of the Good News of the resurrected Christ and the hope of salvation for all. Rather, after proclaiming that “the Lord is Risen indeed,” we are invited to take our place among the communion of saints, to reaffirm our commitment to God, and to renounce the forces of evil that tempt us. Our Baptismal Covenant stands as a testament of our willingness to go forth as the Light of Christ into a world in need.

Last year, following a year of diocesan-wide conversation, study and theological reflection, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut adopted a resolution that recommends an additional question of commitment in the Baptismal Covenant: “Will you cherish the wondrous works of God and protect the beauty and integrity of all creation?” This sixth question shows us a way to be the Light of Christ for the natural world, as we celebrate the magnificence of the earth and as we go forth with faithful action. A resolution has been submitted to General Convention 2015 to consider trial use of this additional question.

As Christians who are asked to love and care for all that God loves, we are invited to thoughtfully and frankly consider how our own actions contribute to the decline of the earth. When we affirm in the Baptismal Covenant our promise to “persevere in resisting evil,” we know that evil includes destroying God’s creation. We commit to turning our lives around and to seeking a better path of living more gently on the earth.

Easter is a season of rejoicing. Rather than continuing to sit in the darkness of the tomb, filled with despair and paralyzed by fear and hopelessness at the news of climate change and the loss of biodiversity, we are invited to shine forth as beacons of possibility and hope for all that God has created.

In one of the Easter Vigil prayers, we say, “O, God, you have created all things by the power of your Word, and you renew the earth by your Spirit” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 290). God longs unceasingly to renew and restore God’s whole creation, and invites us to join in that mission.

May we go forth filled with the power of God’s Word, illumined by the Light of Christ, and joyful in the promise that God’s Spirit will renew the earth.

— The Rev. Stephanie M. Johnson is the assistant rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairfield, Conn., and convenor of the New England Regional Environmental Ministries network.

 

EASTER DAY

Finding Resurrection in Haiti

By the Rev. Andrew K. Barnett

April 5, 2015

Focus Scripture: John 20:1-18

This Easter reflection comes from Haiti’s north coast, where people are desperately poor. Here, one seeks resurrection in the midst of an evil and often complicated history, replete with slavery, racism, revolution, isolation, quiet apathy, incredible generosity, and poverty.

“Haitians know Jesus on a first-name basis,” said our group leader this week, and she is right. I recently joined a three-hour choir rehearsal where over 40 singers braved the dangerous dark and mud to praise Jesus from the back of a leaky church. Young and old, they swayed to the soulful sounds, grooving to the prayer, blessing the neighborhood with their belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, God is alive. Jesus lives, so it was time to sing it, literally, from the roof. Outside, old motorbikes belched smog and eroded the last of the country’s topsoil, but still the singers sang. Death doesn’t get the last word around here. Jesus is alive and well, and so is his movement, called, “Us.” The choir’s throaty song called us together and then sent us out. And, by God, do we have work to do.

Words fall short when I try to capture the profundity of this experience in Haiti. One priest often serves four or more churches and schools, and people come to worship and study from miles around. Our Episcopal schools provide solid education for thousands of students in communities that lack adequate roads, sewers, trash collection, topsoil, water and food. If anyone questions the connection between the environment and social justice, Haiti makes the connection crystal clear. Mountains are denuded for charcoal, while smog and indoor smoke clog lungs, young and old. Erosion carves deep gullies into the barren hillside, creating ruts so deep you could stand in there and hide. The rivers dump topsoil, sewage and trash onto coral reefs, robbing farmers and fishers of a reliable income. Water is unsafe to drink, leading to cholera and other preventable illnesses among the country’s poorest citizens.

Yet the Haitian culture is beautiful. Kids stare adversity in the face and walk to school, sometimes three hours each way. Parents build solar lamps so that young learners can study at night. Villagers plant thousands of trees as the rainy season approaches. In our partner schools, no family is turned away, which means that up to half of the students attend for free in any given year. Of course, the schools have to make up that money, but they find partners to help them, because they refuse to give up on Haiti’s future. O Death, where is thy sting?

Driving through Haiti’s beautiful and troubled countryside, I pondered the Easter mystery – that radical notion that all is forgiven through God’s grace, and that Jesus Christ strolled out of the tomb.

I wonder if Easter has to do with grace, at least partly.

In her book “Traveling Mercies,”  Anne Lamott writes:

“I do not at all understand the mystery of Grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. It can be received gladly or begrudgingly, in big gulps or in tiny tastes, like a deer at the salt. I gobbled it, licked it, held it down between my little hooves” (p. 143).

Or as Lamott notes, Eugene O’Neil put it another way: “Man is broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue” (p. 112).

My time in Haiti was truly a blessing in the sense that grace picked me up where I was and dropped me off at a new place, one that chooses “us” over “me,” generosity over hoarding, forests over deserts, love over greed, resurrection over crucifixion, life over death.

Here in Haiti, we all seek resurrection in the squalor, feeling uncomfortable, perhaps with the grime, and distracted by the hunger. But then one recalls the joyous meal we shared with teachers, priests and helpers, over potatoes and fried goat (delicious). Haitian people laugh a lot. They smile when they’re on the phone. They’re not addicted to their screens, and the word “neighbor” is still a verb. So I suspect that Easter is also about love. As in, the kind of love I felt when a kindergarten boy shared his Legos with me at a school that welcomes every kid.

I wonder what God would say if he or she were preaching Easter Sunday in Port-de-Paix. I don’t know what I would say, but for the rest of my life, I will imagine this amazing congregation listening to my sermons, and that is a gift. They are teaching me to see the world through a very different lens. One that knows Jesus on a first-name basis, and sings the promises of God when the old diesels are smogging up the outside air. One that posts beautiful prayers on Facebook, and goes to church as if it were a feast. One that educates every single kid, even when it means going into debt. One that builds healthy farms and solar water-pumps and encourages the neighbors to invest in the community by teaching at that incredible school that doesn’t have enough walls or doors. One that offers lunch to anyone who’s hungry. The friends we made in Haiti are living witnesses to the resurrection. They show the power of God’s love in all that they do.

Blessings to you and those you love this Easter. May the risen Christ keep us ever mindful of the needs of others, and help us to help them.

 

— The Rev. Andrew K. Barnett serves as Bishop’s Chair for Environmental Studies and Food Justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and pianist with Theodicy Jazz Collective.

Climate Justice: Palm Sunday

Taking a stand with God's shalom

March 29, 2015

Focus Scripture: Luke 23:1-49

Today’s heart-wrenching text illustrates, among other things, the power and the danger of the mob. Jesus paraded into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosannah!” and less than a week later he walked out wearing a crown of thorns, stumbling to the thuds of a coarse wooden cross. Who drummed up the palm parade? Why were people shouting “Hosannah”? What did they want from this King? What happened between Sunday and Thursday? God has a story to tell us through this mob mentality, a frightening human pattern that led to apathy, even complicity on that day, as it has on so many others. Nobody stopped the death of an innocent man. And we should ask why.

The leaders failed to show courage. Maybe Pilate was afraid of an uprising. Perhaps the religious leaders worried that they would lose their grasp on power as the Jesus movement continued to grow. Perhaps Herod worried that he would lose face with Pilate.

Yet we might excuse the bystanders if we focused only on the characters who are named. Thinking like a mob and acting like a mob is what led to Golgotha. It probably took only a handful of instigators to get the crowd to shout, “Crucify him!” yet somebody in the crowd must have agreed with the centurion who said, in the shadow of the cross, that surely this man was innocent. Why didn’t anyone stand up and stop the gang, shouting “Crucify him! Crucify him! Release Barabbas”? They must have known that they were condemning an innocent man to a horrible death, and nobody said, “Stop this.”

It’s deceptively easy to look back on history and to judge the silent, apathetic gatherers who failed to stand up for justice. When we look back on history’s atrocities, we often imagine that we would have stood up for righteousness, we would not have feared retribution, we would have stopped the multitude from stampeding the innocent. We would have marched with Dr. King in Selma. We would have stood beside Dietrich Bonhoeffer at Tegel.

But I wonder if we are fooling ourselves. How many times have I failed to feed someone who is hungry, or fallen short when I’ve seen the bully-cycle have its way with kids? How often have I turned away from the needs of my neighbors because I was too busy and already late for work? How often have I kept my head down so that I could advance the legitimate interests of my career or because I feared being ridiculed for taking a stand?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously addresses this tendency in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” writing:

“In the midst of blatant injustices … I have watched … church [folk] stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of … injustice, I have heard many ministers say: ‘Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.’”

King continued:

“So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent – and often even vocal – sanction of things as they are.”

Lord have mercy when we are that church! And may God help us now to be a powerful, prophetic voice that can lead the way to new life.

As we prepare to enter Holy Week, may God help us to be sickened by climate disasters like drowning villages, cracked fields and burning forests. God forbid that we settle for business as usual or make peace with a status quo that is destroying life as it has evolved on this planet.

The old saying goes, “I’m in it for me, you’re in it for you, may the best man win.” God’s new story of shalom says, “We are all on the same boat, facing a storm of our own causing.” We must meet this challenge together.

Jesus does not teach us to pray, “Give me this day my daily bread,” but rather “Give us this day our daily bread.”

When viewed from God’s story of shalom, our political economy is absurd. In God’s shalom, money does not buy influence and selfishness has no value. Only love has power. Love is what motivates us, what inspires us, and what guides our way.

And so now, people of God, it is time to take a stand. Because short-term profit for the 1 percent of the 1 percent no longer trumps your health and mine. Our new story may start with changing lightbulbs, but in the end it leads to changing systems.

And changing systems means finding courage to stand up to the mobs full of indifference and apathy. This week, we are unlikely to hear a stadium crowd shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” But we may well see an opportunity to interrupt an unjust system. We may well have a chance to help our neighbors. We may well have the chance to interrupt the bully cycle. We may well have the chance to stand up to the nonsense of climate deniers. We may well have a chance to reduce our own carbon footprint. We may well have the chance to seek and serve Christ in all persons, especially the ones who aren’t getting served.

As we prepare to enter the mysteries of Holy Week, I leave you with a traditional Franciscan benediction:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths and superficial relationships
so that you will live deep in your heart.

May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people and the earth
so that you will work for justice, equity and peace

May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer so that you will reach out with your hands
to comfort them and change their pain into joy

And may God bless you with the foolishness
to think that you can make a difference in the world
so that you will do the things which others say cannot be done.

 

— The Rev. Andrew K. Barnett serves as Bishop’s Chair for Environmental Studies and Food Justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and pianist with Theodicy Jazz Collective.

Preaching Climate Justice

Focus Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46

Strolling About Genesis

Imagine strolling about creation with those first lucky few. God makes nothing into something, and it is very good. Look around! Squint at the sun governing the blue sky day. God gives us the sun and it fuels the earth. Enjoy the giant trees, unfurling emerald leaves in the wispy clouds. This is the charity of sunshine and plants, and God says they are very good.

Feel the rich, dark soil, tickling your toes, cushioning your feet. Scoop up a handful and drizzle it between your hands – you just brushed 1,000 living things. They root around underground, turning old bodies into new soil, breathing new life into the garden. This is dry land, and God says it is very good.

Listen – can you hear the sweet water gurgling past mossy stones? Follow the stream as it splashes over a waterfall into a bubbly blue lake. Cup your hands for a refreshing drink. Dive into the lake – be soothed as the water glides over your skin – head to toe! Open your eyes and watch beaver, fish and bugs frolic amid watery sunbeams. Swim across the lake, rest on a smooth sun-warmed rock and trace the river that carries sweet water to the ocean. Smell the salty sea breeze, glimpse the shoals of fish gorging on the river’s nutrient buffet. Watch the dolphins, otters and whales chomp the smaller fish. This is water and life, and God says they are good.

Take a deep breath. [Pause. Breathe.] Taste the crystal air as it runs over your tongue. The oxygen in that air came from land plants and billions of tiny ocean creatures who breathe our atmosphere into being. Wide eyed, speechless with gratitude, we listen to God’s instructions for creation care:

“God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:28, 31).

Dominion? Really?

Now, God had options for that opening phrase to all of humanity. In these first breathless words, God welcomes us to earth and teaches creation care. As Genesis gives us sovereignty over creation, a close reading of that word “dominion” – Radvah in Hebrew – teaches us to care for “this fragile earth, our island home” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 370).

Radvah implies “care-giving, even nurturing,” the very antithesis of exploitation (“New Interpreter’s Bible: Genesis”, Abingdon, 1994). It’s fascinating to watch the way people used this word Radvah in non-biblical literature. They often used it to describe a beloved king. Sure, the king could rule with an iron fist, hoard the food, waste the water and forget about the next 100 years. But those kings tended to lose their heads in revolutions.

Through this word Radvah, Genesis calls humanity to treat creation the way God cares for us: with love and wisdom, with care, with stewardship for the long haul.

Dear people of God, the truth is that we are spoiling our beautiful home. That great dome in the midst of the waters has a fever from too much fire. We need to preach about climate change because it epitomizes our ravaging of creation. And we need to preach climate justice because God calls us to tell a new story.

What Kind of Story Shall We Tell?

Hear Jesus’ summary of the Law:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Hear the prophetic words of former Secretary-General Kofi Anan: “The impact of climate change will fall disproportionately on the world’s poorest countries,” and the poorest communities bear the brunt of the pain.

Now is our time to act on climate change. On a hot and crowded planet, we can no longer talk responsibly of loving our neighbor until we fight with all we have for a stable climate and for a just society.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells all the gathered nations, “I was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, and sick.” The truth is that climate change affects every single one of those issues. And Jesus isn’t just talking to individuals.

In Matthew 25, Christ the King addresses all the gathered nations, panta ta ethne in Greek. Scientists tell us that we are on the brink of disaster, and tinkering at the margins will be too little, too late. A new light bulb here, a few seawalls there? No. The time has come to rebuild the way that all the gathered nations conduct our business. We love our neighbors – or not – each time we decide how to heat, cool, travel, ship and farm.

As we seek to love and serve Christ in all persons, may we also come to know Christ in the vital links between climate change and hunger, thirst, refugees, sickness and “the least of these,” who are all members of God’s family.

Preaching Climate Justice

I offer these thoughts as a general primer on climate change preaching. I hope that they will be received, not as advice from an expert, but rather as discoveries from personal experience.

First, as with all preaching and worship, the telos of our work is prayer. Through the Holy Spirit, our sermons help people to deepen their faith and to grow in their walk with Jesus Christ. Another way to say this is, “Preach the gospel and keep the sermon about Jesus.” By the way, that’s not hard to do when we preach about climate change. Any responsible treatment of the summary of the Law, “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself,” necessarily engages global climate stewardship. Carbon emitted from my car will circle the globe in about 26 days, and remain in the oceans and atmosphere for centuries, wreaking more havoc on poor countries in the global south than on the rich countries responsible for the vast majority of climate pollution. And within poor countries, the most impoverished communities will feel the most pain. How would Jesus respond to this raging injustice? What does God call us to say and do in this unprecedented time?

Second, climate change is a gospel issue, one that we must reclaim from the political rancor of our day. It is a political artifact that climate change makes for fightin’ words in America’s halls of power. With the exception of Russia, this is not true in the other advanced economies of the world. No serious statesman in Europe, for example, would stand on the parliamentary floor and question the science of human-caused climate change, much less pass a resolution declaring it a hoax in the middle of the hottest year on record. Yet these things have recently taken place in the United States. It is time for us to change the conversation. This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue, a squabble to pit red states against blue. Climate change is a moral issue, a threat that faces all humanity, whatever our political allegiances, and we can address this crisis effectively only if we do so together. Cynical efforts to divide us will only squander precious time that we will later wish we had spent cutting pollution and growing healthy communities.

Consider naming the political tension around this issue, and reframing it during the sermon. The preacher might say something like, “I understand this is a divisive topic in today’s media landscape, and it may be hard for us to discuss this together. But I believe we have the courage to bring our faith to this conversation. May we all grow in the dialogue we are about to share.” It can also be helpful to send a draft of the sermon to a more conservative member of the congregation for pastoral feedback. We all need a way to pray together, and it is important to talk about this as a moral issue rather than simply a political one.

Third, climate change is a gospel issue because climate change is a justice issue, affecting poor people first, hardest, and longest. “First” because low-income countries and communities tend to have less warning about extreme weather events, and many of the poorest countries are located in the global south, where climate consequences such as drought, floods, famine and storms are already causing pain. “Hardest” because poor folks often live on cheap land, whose value is reduced because of vulnerability to disaster. For example, property values in New Orleans correspond to elevation, with much of the city below sea level. The lower the land, the cheaper the house, and the more likely that a family will be flooded. “Longest” because poor communities typically lack the resources to rebuild, and when donations come in, the money doesn’t always go to the intended recipients. These injustices are compounded by the fact that rich countries are responsible for most of the global climate’s high levels of greenhouse gas pollution, and poor countries suffer the brunt of the ensuing disasters. The gospel of Jesus Christ can bring compassion and urgency to this conversation on food, water, land and health – and just, loving communities.

Fourth, we can name specific regional consequences of climate change with scientific accuracy and without exaggeration. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes regular peer-reviewed articles on climate impacts, as do the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and others. These trusted resources can help preachers stay abreast of the most recent science.

Here’s an example of a peer-reviewed fact that would make compelling sermon material. The United Nations Refugee Agency predicts that climate change will lead to tens of millions of refugees by 2050. The migration of desperately poor people presents a challenge that few countries have met with compassion.

Fifth, we can craft beautiful prayers, songs, liturgy and symbols that honor creation. Think of how many Christian sacraments involve the stuff of earth: bread and wine at Holy Communion, oil for anointing, clear water for baptism, the wood of the cross, flowers on the altar, dust at the grave, and more. Rituals connect us with the transcendent. As we enter a period of increasing loss and instability, we will need more than ever the solace and wisdom that come from rituals that center us in the love of God.

Finally, we can start where we are, with what we know and what we have. When we build local climate solutions that are small enough to manage and big enough to matter, we mobilize pockets of willingness, catalyze local know-how and crack open a window of opportunity. Good things happen.

Parks and bike lanes get built, community gardens get planted, solar panels get installed, strong laws get passed, new markets emerge. Praying shapes believing, but so does action. God has work for us to do.

The work has begun already. God is already at work in our communities, inspiring countless people to search for ways to build a more just and sustainable society. Let’s join that mission – and help to lead it. And even if we have all kinds fears and concerns, let’s look for reasons to start anyway!

I’ve never done this before! Start anyway.

This could be hard! Start anyway.

What if we make mistakes? Start anyway.

I’m too busy and I don’t have enough volunteers! Start anyway.

How will we pay for it? Start anyway.

Who’s gonna lead the committee? Start anyway.

Who will be on the committee? Start anyway.

Should we even have a committee? Start anyway.

It’s not that those questions are irrelevant. We do need to address them. But we can answer them as we go along. Let’s dare to be like the early Christians. Like them, let’s live God’s new story, and see what possibilities emerge – “like wheat that springeth green” (Hymn #204). Let’s find out together what new relationships will grow, what new capacity for love will emerge and what God has in store for us.

The time has come for bold leadership. We follow Jesus, who led boldly and even gave his life. Tables might get turned, and the mighty might tumble, but we follow an even mightier God who stared down Pharaoh and led Israel out of Egypt.

Announcing the dawn of a new age is risky. But that’s what Jesus did. And what we, too, must do. God says, tell a new story. God says, live a new story. For the sake of our children and theirs, a new movement is building. May the incarnate God grant us courage to transform the course of history.

 

— The Rev. Andrew K. Barnett serves as Bishop’s Chair for Environmental Studies and Food Justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and pianist with Theodicy Jazz Collective.

Climate Justice

30 Days of Action

The Episcopal Church’s Climate Change Crisis forum on March 24, kicks off 30 Days of Action, an invitation for individuals to address climate change for 30 days – to learn, advocate, act, proclaim, eat, play and pray.

The following reflections on climate justice are designed for use during 30 Days of Action and throughout the year.

Introduction

Preaching Climate Justice by the Rev. Andrew K. Barnett

Homiletic Reflections

Climate Justice: Palm Sunday by the Rev. Andrew K. Barnett, March 28, 2015

Climate Justice: Easter Vigil by the Rev. Stephanie M. Johnson, April 4, 2015

Climate Justice: Easter Day by the Rev. Andrew K. Barnett, April 5, 2015

Climate Justice: 2 Easter by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, April 12, 2015

Climate Justice: 3 Easter by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, April 19, 2015

Additional Resources