Advent is the Christian season of anticipation – watching and waiting. Advent is a season of hope. Yet this year, for many of us, it might be more difficult to fully claim hope as we wonder what future political realities might mean for God’s creation.
The Creation Justice community pays close attention to the state of the natural world and those who most depend on its well-being. Profound and urgent needs surround us. While the world’s leaders gathered in Paris in 2015 to declare a goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, we have already exceeded 1 degree Celsius of warming. Persistent climate change-related drought has displaced thousands of Syrian farmers, fueling the conflict in Aleppo. Meanwhile, low-lying communities worldwide are suffering floods from extreme weather and rising sea levels. This year, government leaders allowed communities to become sickened by poisoned water in Michigan and West Virginia, while also holding back resources for community healing and remediation. One in five species are threatened or endangered, and this year, scientists demonstrated that the world is on track to lose two thirds of all its wild animals by 2020.
We are attentive to how public policy makers respond to these needs. As a whole, responses have been too little, too late, or downright harmful. Some of us to feel our hope faltering.
Yet even if it is difficult, now is a time for hope. Christian hope is not a feeling. It is a gift from God. Accepting this gift requires us to release clenched anxious fists into open hands. It requires a willingness to listen -- to surrender our thoughts, words, and deeds to the only One who can create, redeem, and sustain all of creation.
In times like this, I hold close these words of Salvadoran Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero: “We are workers, not master-builders. Ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.” And, all around me, I am heartened by the workers and ministers of the Creation Justice community. I am grateful for the witness of all who are active in disaster response ministries, who quickly came to the aid of communities in Michigan, West Virginia and South Carolina this year. I am lifted up by the children who have filed a lawsuit holding adults responsible for climate change. I find incredible hope in Christian communities’ commitment to stand with the water protectors of Standing Rock to defend their sacred land, as well as support the proactive conservation leadership of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. I also draw strength from knowing of the thousands of daily acts of care for God's creation and neighbors that happen through congregations, camps and retreat centers, and schools.
It is Christian hope that will give the Creation Justice community the moral courage required of us for such a time as this. Next year, our Earth Day Sunday curriculum and programming will focus on environmental justice from indigenous peoples' perspectives. We will also improve our action center and increase opportunities for the Creation Justice community to develop relationships with decision-makers.
About this Blog
This blog shares the activities of Creation Justice Ministries. We educate and equip Christians to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.