A seminary classmate served in Shishmaref for first call (http://www.livinglutheran.org/2017/04/earth-day-series-climate-change-migration-elca/). Even then, over a decade ago, they were seeing dramatic changes in the tides, permafrost, and the animal migrations. These changes impacted their very way of life and made decisions about the future of the community not a matter of preference but necessity.
The reality is that our climate is in a state of change. Rhythms of ecological life are being impacted, sea levels are rising, and storms are more intense. This isn’t political rhetoric; it is observable fact. As an undergraduate at Harvard, I studied these realities earning a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy. That human beings impact this change is also beyond debate. The overwhelming majority of scientists, including my advisors and teachers at Harvard, believe our use of carbon-based fuels is accelerating this change.
I would encourage all our congregations to build upon the work of the Public Witness Team’s Creation Care event this spring to examine our responsibility to care for God’s earth. This creation, that we hold sacred, was entrusted to us as stewards. Additionally, the call to love our neighbor reminds us the changes in global climate disproportionately impact the poorest and most marginalized among us.
Environmental stewardship is not the Gospel. However, it is a part of our life together. In my parish calls, I encouraged my congregations to be good stewards of the earth. To recycle, use water resources wisely, and manage choices to cut electricity and natural gas use. At Trinity Lutheran, Fort Worth, by active management of thermostats and air handlers, we were able to cut our electricity use by almost 50%. Not only being better stewards of energy but also of the church’s finances.
This work isn’t something to be done on one day of the year. It is a calling to care for God’s earth, to care for our neighbors, and to care for future generations. Part of being In Mission Together.
In Mission Together,