Earth Day / Creation Care, A sermon by the Rev. Bob Wohlfort, transitional Pastor

This sermon offering comes to you in 2 parts:

          *Part 1 is some musing about what is appearing in the media    that is  named “climate change.”

 

          *Part 2 is about our faith on this Earth Day.  Part 2 is about           God’s Work. Our Hands. as pertains to Creation Care.  Part 2          is about our opening liturgy from Genesis; the voice of God in

          Job; and the presence of Jesus, the Christ “in the beginning.”

 

Parts 1 and 2 are intimately connected and are incapable of separation.

 

“Climate change.”  I prefer “climate chaos.”  Sleet, ice, freezing temps in mid April is chaos.   A 15% slowdown in the Atlantic current that impacts world temperatures and the Gulf Stream is chaos.  The trio of hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria is chaos.  The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is chaos. The arrest of 2 black men in the  Philadelphia Sarbucks is chaos.  There are no words for the deadly chaos in Syria and Yemean and Myanmar.

 

Those of you who received my letter to the OSLC community in January know…those of you who did not are about to know…11 years ago I was trained by Vice President Al Gore to present The Inconvenient Truth workshops.  This Oscar winning documentary generated so many requests for Mr. Gore to come to cities and countries around the world that he needed to muster a corps of trained presenters to fulfill requests.  There are 7500 of us worldwide.

 

I learned much concerning the causes and the impacts of climate chaos during this past decade.  Also, I know that for many women and men the scientific facts seem not to matter. 

 

I think of that phenomena this way:  if you are ill, consult with  your physician and after tests and conversation and consultation with peers, your doc tells you that you are seriously ill with ABC and the treatment is XYX…you would be wise to seek a second opinion.  Let’s posit you seek 9 “2nd” opinions so the process of  diagnosis and treatment yields 10 medically scientific based results.  9 of the physicians tell you that you have ABC and XYZ is the treatment of choice.  1 doc says that you are quite fine; your symptoms will recede and no interventions are required.  The 9 are in error.  Whom will you elect to treat you: 1 of the 9 or the 1?

 

95% of the world’s climate scientists conclude that climate chaos is real and very serious.  90% of the world’s climate scientists conclude that human activity is a major component of the chaos.  How is it that 10% “Trumps” 90%? (The pun is intended.)

 

It is my opinion that our current administration is guilty of malpractice in its stewardship of Mother Earth and is engaged in ongoing crimes against all of humanity as its juggernaut sweeps aside and away hard won guidelines for the protection of our planet’s air, water, land, resources and the most vulnerable of people who are the first casualties of climate chaos and degradation.  The Pacific Island nation of The Maldives is in negotiations with other nations in their area…to move their entire people because of sea level rise.  Thank about that!

 

Mr. Pruitt is a Evangelical Christian and a member of the conservative branch of the Southern Baptists.  A recent statement of his is, in my hearing, endearing on its surface and in the light of his rulings and mission alarming and destructive and immoral.

          We have a responsibility to manage, cultivate and  harvest the     natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind.

 

This administration is neither dumb nor oblivious.  Our leaders, many in both parties, are purchased by fossil fuel interests and have sold out for votes to stay in office.  They have lost sight of the common good and the precious gift of a world not of our making. 

 

We, as the women, men and children of a loving, creative and imaginative God must; we are obligated to serve up and give witness to the magnificent implications of the narrative of Genesis 1; the majesty of God’s answer to Job; and the wonder and Implications of Jesus incarnate’s presence “in the beginning.”

 

Following the emotional and majestic liturgy of Genesis, let us add the compassionate and insightful witness of Franciscan priest, Father Richard Rohr:  (I have shared these words before)

         

          The incarnation of God did not only happen in Bethlehem             2000 years ago.  That is just when some of us started taking it     seriously.  The incarnation actually happened approximately      13.8 billion years ago with a moment we now call ‘The Big               Bang’ or the First Manifestation.  At the birth of the universe, God materialized and revealed who God is”.

 

This first incarnation gifts to us an inherent, an embodied, a universal sacredness and a spiritual ecology that transcends everything and everyone.

 

As people of the Christian faith living in the echoes of the liturgy of Genesis, the voice of God in Job and the presence of Jesus at creation…we proclaim that all of creation is God’s place, which is our place, which is the only and every place.

 

With Pope Francis in his 2015 letter, On Care for Our Common Home, we confess, “We were conceived in the heart of God and for this reason ‘each of us is the result of a thought of God.  Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.’” [65]

 

“We were conceived in the heart of God…”  This is one of the reasons I was part of numerous marches in Washington opposing the XL Pipeline and its oil sands extraction.  Treaties with the First Nation Peoples of Canada were aborted and their land taken and despoiled.  These people and their ancient tribal home “…each of us is the result of a thought of God.”

 

The same creation truth, I believe, says “No!” to the Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay, Alaska.  That pristine area is home to some of the best and most beautiful salmon rivers of the planet.  For 1000s of First Nation Peoples this area is their ancient and ancestral home and their livelihood and food source are those salmon.  The proposed copper and gold mine endangers their culture, their communities and their way of making a living.

 

Much the same can be offered regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the near to us Northern Pass.

 

One of the catechisms of the Roman Catholic church teaches, “Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection.  Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness.”  Not only chipmunks.  Also, you, me, people of color, gay and straight, all children, all women and all men.

 

So, disciples of our Lord who seek to follow Jesus:  we must raise our lament on behalf of creation and use our pens and our telephones to tell our congressional representatives and this administration that the current policies regarding God’s good creation are wrong, destructive of the land and people and a grievous sin against the beauty, sacredness and well being of every creature…including insults and name calling.

 

Upon waking on Friday to see the chipmunk on our windowsill yearning to be in its home…and laughing and thoroughly enjoying that other chipmunk up my pant leg and shirt…these were moments of awe, sweetness and a glimpse of my connection to all living things.  Those chipmunks are forever part of my Earth Day consciousness.

 

 When you go online today and see the Google Earth Day graphic…open it to listen to Jane Goodall’s witness to Creation.

 

And, look up in the sky tonight for the glory of God in God’s magnificent costume of the Lyrid Meteor Shower.

 

Happy Earth Day and blessings to you as you mindfully care for each and every portion of creation that touches you.

 

Amen

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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