by Rev. Brendan Curran, Assoc. Minister         –          Feb. 15, 2019

Back to basics: How we care for each other and care for the Earth.

“What if Christ is the name of the transcendent within and of every ‘thing’ in the universe? What if Christ is the name for the immense spaciousness of all true Love?” – Richard Rohr OFM

The prophet Isaiah invites the people to come out and find God in the wilderness and in the work for justice..   “Come all you who are thirsty, Come to the waters,” says Isaiah. -Isaiah 55:1  In the gospel of John, Jesus describes himself and the Holy Spirit of all life as, “living water.”  Our faith reveals to us a God completely intertwined with our lives, intertwined with our relationships with each other, with the natural world, and all living things.  Our faith teaches us that we meet Christ, the wisdom of God made flesh, in the work of establishing healed whole relationships with each other, and with God’s creation.   We encounter God in the work of caring for creation and today we realize that we must do this for a future to be possible.

According to this past October’s UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading climate scientists report that we have 12 years to act on the climate change caused by our consumption of fossil fuels and our destruction of Earth’s ecosystems.  The report shows it remains both, “affordable and feasible,” to ensure the Earth’s temperature not rise anymore than 1.5 degrees Celsius within this short time, but we must act now to ensure that the planet remains habitable for our children.

Now more than ever, it’s morally imperative for us, as people of faith, to learn to encounter God in the interdependence of all life.  We must learn to locate, “the Kingdom of God,” not simply beyond the clouds, but primarily in our work of establishing healed, whole relationships between ourselves and with Mother Earth, God’s creation.  The issue of impending man-made climate catastrophe continues to be the white elephant sitting in our rooms.  I think the issue seems so big and beyond our control we become overwhelmed and give in to passivity.  After all, our busy lives already present us with enough worries.  Unfortunately, ignoring the problem and not talking about it will not make it go away and it remains morally imperative for us to act.

 

What can we do right now?  When Jesus was overwhelmed, he went back to the basics!  In order to understand how God was calling him to act, he retreated to the wilderness to be held by the Earth and hear, more clearly, the voice of God.  During Lent we go back to the basics and join Christ on this journey.  We try to find moments and opportunities in our busy lives to go, “into the wilderness,” in different ways so we can hear more clearly the voice of God.

On Monday nights from 7-8pm we are offering a Lenten series focusing on the meditations of “Richard Rohr.”  Richard Rohr is a contemplative Christian and the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM.

“The Center for Action and Contemplation seeks to empower individuals to live out their sacred soul tasks in service to the world through contemplative programs and resources.”

Our time of meditation will help us find peace and help us focus on how we encounter the divine in our relationships with each other and the Earth.

We are also offering a Book/Bible discussion on Thursday afternoons from 4-5pm at the Coffee D epot in Warren.  All who wish to participate are invited to read the “read across RI,” book, What The Eyes Don’t See, that tells the story of how a community of people in an American city discovered hope in their work of responding to an environmental crises and protecting their water together.  Our discussion will be complimented by Bible passages that call on us to care for creation.  In our discussions we will together define ways we can care for creation by responding to climate change locally and protecting the water right here in RI.

We need not ever feel powerless. God is always with us.  We can always work for healed and whole relationships between ourselves, each other, and the Earth, and we will always encounter God in that sacred work.  So let’s get back to basics!  During Lent, let’s help each other find moments to reflect on our connections with the Earth and each other to encounter God there, and discern how we are being called to act.