Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Earth Day, A Celebration of God's Love

Should Environmental Concerns be a part of the gospel proclamation of the church?

This week I am working on a sermon for Earth Day Sunday. Having done some environmental justice sermons before what most often seems to be the hurdle to jump is the political overtones. In trying to encourage Christians to think about the environment from a Biblical perspective, I often hear responses from a political perspective, from the left or the right, republican or democrat, conservative or liberal. While I must admit that my own awareness of the environmental 'movement' came after watching Al Gore's video, I very quickly began to study the bible with eyes open to what it had to say about Creation, so that the theology of the church I serve would be shaped by theology and scripture as opposed to politics.

This weeks sermon is inspired by a number of sources;

First; John 13:34-35

34 "A new command I give you: Love one another . As I have loved you, so you must love one another . 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another ."

Second; Lk 12:27-28

27 "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

Here is the point I am considering. We are commanded by Christ to love one another in John. The text from Luke illustrates God's love for creation by caring for creation. (I know that isn't the overall point Jesus is trying to make, but he is using God's love of creation to illustrate God's watch-care over humanity)

If we are commanded to love, to participate in the love of God as illustrated by Christ, and Christ himself refers to God's love and care for all of creation, even the lilies, are we too then, not called to love all of creation?

Three: Willis Jenkins in his book 'Ecologies of Grace' refers to the work of James Nash and summarizes Nash's thoughts with this; 'by learning to love nature, we participatively imitate God's love.

Caring for Creation then, becomes a spiritual practice in which we contemplate God's love for us through the beauty of creation. By making creation care a part of our spiritual lives, even through simple things like recycling, gardening, participating in farmer's markets, walking or biking instead of driving when we can, etc. we are imitating God's love and learning how to love more fully.

To see a previous Earth Day Sermon:

1 comment:

Kurt Willems said...

This was a great post! I hope that your sermon was well received. I know that issues like this will get much push back from people who unfortunately ignore the science of climate change because skepticism keeps their political view alive. The problem then, is that they will often say that they care about the planet, but just don't buy that global warming malarkey. This leaves the door wide open to continue to approach the planet the same way, no matter the theology, because what they are doing is not 'actually' harming the earth. I have found this to be a vicious circle...