This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the Creation Justice community. My awareness has deepened that on both spiritual and practical levels, we need each other more than ever.
Challenges Before Us
Profound new insights on the urgency and gravity of threats to God’s creation challenge our community to rise with unprecedented vigor to answer our sacred call to be caretakers.
Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on what it will truly take to prevent catastrophic climate damage, and revealed we have little more than a decade to implement dramatic changes. Weeks later, the World Wildlife Federation demonstrated how we have lost more than half the world’s wild creatures in the last 50 years.
Meanwhile, it seems many of our federal public policies in the United States are moving in the opposite direction of what is necessary to responsibly care for God’s creation. Our country is pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, undergoing the biggest loss of conservation protections for public lands and waters in U.S. history, and diminishing the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Government and corporate forces are allowed to be careless with the life-giving fresh water entrusted to our collective care. Instead, we are imperiling our communities’ health with lead, fracking chemicals, and oil spills.
Many regard our current situation with a sense of fear, panic and despair.
Hope is more than a feeling; it is the practice of being a reflection of God’s love for the world.
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
The Creation Justice Community's Unique Call
It is natural to feel fear, panic, and despair at times. Yet, as a practice of Christian faith, we can support each other to release the power of these feelings over our attitudes and behaviors. Hope is more than a feeling; it is the practice of being a reflection of God’s love for the world.
I am entering this harvest season of gratitude, and looking forward to Advent, asking myself the question: What scripture can we meditate on to ground a practice of Christian hope? I look to the vision of the Peaceable Kingdom imagined in Isaiah 11:1-10. In this iconic passage which is the subject of many religious artists’ imaginations, we are invited to envision a wolf and a lamb, a calf and a lion, resting together, with a little child leading them. We are told the meek and the poor will have justice. This image invokes so many values our world needs today: community, Sabbath, peace, humility, and tenderness. In our work for Creation Justice, we too can embrace these values and participate in fostering God’s Peaceable Kingdom on Earth.
I see members of the Creation Justice community living hope each day, casting a vision for the Peaceable Kingdom. I see this hope in the many who devote time, talent, and treasure to our shared mission educate, equip, and mobilize to protect, restore, and more rightly share God's creation. It is happening in congregations as well as in efforts to care for disaster victims, refugees, people suffering health challenges, and people who are hungry. Camp, conference and retreat centers are sensitizing families to our relationships with the natural world. In the coming year, plans are in motion to put a spotlight on the leadership of children and youth, as well as to educate our communities about the findings of this year's landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. We plan to support people on the front lines of coping with loss of access to affordable, safe water, including through holding our May 2019 board meeting in Flint, Michigan. We will also encourage people to celebrate Earth Day Sunday in April, Endangered Species Day in May, and the Season of Creation in September-October.
As a symbol of the Creation Justice community’s practice of hope and vision for God’s Peaceable Kingdom, for each grassroots financial contribution we receive, we will add one puzzle piece to an artistic rendering of the Peaceable Kingdom. We will update you on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram about the Creation Justice community’s progress to complete 500-piece puzzle. Together, like the prophet Isaiah, in this time when predatory greed seems to rule, we can cast an alternative vision of hope for a Peaceable Kingdom of creation.
Each member of the Creation Justice community plays an important role in casting a vision for God's Peaceable Kingdom. To add your piece to the puzzle, go to www.creationjustice.org/donate
Grace and Peace,
Shantha Ready Alonso
Executive Director, Creation Justice Ministries