Image courtesy of letallcreationpraise.org
Let All Creation Praise is a website maintained by Nick Utphall a pastor in Madison, WI; Susan Zencka, a pastor in Stevens Point, WI; Alydia Smith, programing coordinator for the United Church of Canada; Leah Schade, a professor of preaching and worship at Lexington Theological Seminary (KY), and David Rhoads, director of Lutherans restoring Creation. The website has many resources for worship, and they are an advocate for supporting the Season of Creation which is an opportunity to add this season of four Sundays celebrating creation and the creator to the traditional church year.
You can connect to their website here or connect via facebook here.
Picture courtesy of livinglent.org
Living lent is a resource from The Joint Public issues Team. Their goal is to help people recognize that changing the climate is a lifestyle, not just an activity. They offer six different commitments to make not just during lent, but all together. They offer facts supporting why each commitment is important and how to stay committed. This is part of their goal to make climate action a lifestyle and to help people “Live Lent”. To read more about Living Lent and the six commitments, click here.
Picture courtesy of water.oikoumene.org
The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network has created a campaign “Seven Weeks for Water” to provide weekly reflections and other resources on water for the seven weeks of Lent. Each reflection starts with a scripture and then the author’s reflection. There are also reflection questions for the reader and possible actions to take.
The first reflection, “Challenging gendered water: an important step towards women’s empowerment” is by Renemsongla Ozukum, a theologian and a member of the Baptist Church Council, Nagaland India. The reflection is focused on John 4: 4-26: And Jesus said to her, “I am the Living Water”..…everyone who drinks the water will never be thirsty again.
The second reflection, “Pilgrimage of water justice in the context of India” is by Dr.Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, Bishop of Niranam diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in India. He also serves the World Council of Churches as Moderator of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. His reflection comes from John 4:1-30: Samaritan Woman at the Well.
The third reflection, “God’s Gift of Water” is by Grace Ji-Sun Kim. She is an ordained minister of PC (USA) and works as an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion. She is also part of the World Council of Churches working group on climate change. Her reflection comes from Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground…
The fourth reflection, “Stigma and discrimination: an impediment to human right to water, with specific reference to Casteism in India” is by Rev. Dr Raj Bharat Patta. He is an ordained minister of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church in India and served the Student Christian Movement of India as its national General Secretary. He has also worked for the National Council of Churches in India as one of its Executive Secretaries. His reflection narrates the story of Hagar through her voice, when she was left in the desert to fend for herself without an adequate supply of water to survive with and to keep her son Ishmael alive. Patta, draws similarities between the Dalit communities in India and that of Hagar, when it comes to access to water.
The last three reflections are as follows: “Secure water for food security and climate adaptation”, “Leaving no one behind: the crux of water for all in the context of SDG 6”, and “Privatisation of water: an onslaught to human right to water in Asia”. These will be available at the beginning of each of the coming weeks. To read more about the Seven Weeks of Water, click here.
Picture courtesy of aerosmith.com
Song Picks by Natalie
The first verse of Nobody’s Fault by Aerosmith says:
Running for the sea
Holy lands are sinking
Birds take to the sky
I think that the first three lines are describing the destruction of the earth and the line “holy lands are sinking” is alluding to rising sea levels taking precious land.
The next lines:
The prophets are all stinking drunk
I know the reason why
Eyes are full of desire
Mind is so ill at ease
Everything is on fire
I think that “The prophets are all stinking drunk” is referring to people no longer listening to the teachings of God. In the next lines, I believe the lyrics are saying the reason people are no longer listening to the teachings of God and therefore destroying the earth is because of human’s desire for more. This has led to an uncomfortable society where our minds are “ill at ease and everything is on fire.”
The last chorus of the songs states:
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now we’re just a little too late
I think that these lines are saying humans have known we shouldn’t be destroying the earth, but we did it anyways, and now, everything is not how it should be. Humans have ignored the warnings and now it’s too late.
To read the lyrics, click here.
To listen to the song, click here.
Picture courtesy of crs.org; Photographer Mohammed Hafiz
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has created the “Through the Lens of Our Photographers,” project. This is its third year of the CRS Photos Department’s annual collection of the best photos of the year. CRS Photo Librarian Lauren Carroll and Photo Editor Philip Laubner hope to offer photos that have a “lasting impact and transcend their parts to represent something bigger, something universal, something that talks to a larger human truth.” To view all of the photographs from 2018, click here.
Picture courtesy of amintakilawan.com/
Aminta is a community organizer, activist, writer, and singer born in New York. In 2013, Aminta co-founded Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, a New York State non-profit organization committed to promoting social justice through the values at the heart of the Hindu faith. Through Sadhana, Aminta has worked closely with the Queens-based Indo-Caribbean population to promote environmentally friendly worship practices, particularly at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Aminta has also been a spirited bhajan and Hindi film song singer since the tender age of 9. In 2015, in an effort to increase civic engagement and political awareness in her community, Aminta began writing a column for her local newspaper, The West Indian.
Aminta received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in 2010. She received her Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School in 2013. After graduating from law school, Aminta served as a New York State Public Service Excelsior Fellow under New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. While she originally thought she’d become a trial lawyer, she found her true calling in policy-making. She is a Senior Legislative Counsel for the New York City legislature. In her capacity at the New York City Council, Aminta drafts and negotiates legislation spanning from areas such as women’s rights, poverty, housing and homelessness, and child welfare. Aminta is admitted to practice in the New York State Bar.
Aminta’s photo, “Shiva, the God of Destruction, Destroyed,” won third place in the Religion and Environment photography contest. Aminta stated, “Hindus have worshipped at the banks of Ganges and the shores of other bodies of water for centuries. Jamaica Bay is basically a closed system, so whatever lands in its waters stays until it is removed. The Ganges and many other bodies of water have become polluted by the use of many user groups. The Ganges, one of the major rivers of India, also known as Ganga Maa, is said to have made her abode in Shiva’s matted hair in order to prevent the destruction of Prithvi (Mother Earth). The flow of the Ganges also represents the nectar of immortality. Shiva is regarded as “the Destroyer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. He is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and the arts. Here, Shiva is found broken in the sands of Jamaica Bay, during a cleanup organized by the photographer, Aminta Kilawan-Narine and her husband Rohan Narine.”
Picture courtesy of Tony Losekamp
Tony Losekamp is a second year seminarian in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources in 2017. He has been Catholic his whole life and chose to study environmental sciences out of a love of science and nature and a desire to help make the world a better place. While in college his faith became his own when he had to decide for himself to go to Mass on Sundays, go on retreats, join Bible Studies, go to adoration to worship Jesus in the Eucharist, and build a personal relationship with Jesus. At some point he realized that if he was going to be Catholic, he was going to have to give everything to the one who gave him everything. In giving himself completely to Jesus, he became more free to love. He finished his degree while giving more and more time to Saint Paul’s Outreach and the Newman Center, gaining missionary experience and building a love for life. That is what brought him to Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West.
Tony’s photo won second place in the Religion-Environment photography contest with “Spiritual Tree.” Tony stated that, “I took this photo in Hocking Hills, Ohio, on the trail between Old man’s cave and Cedar Falls. It was spring and the forest was exploding with life. The air hummed with excitement and power that is comparable with excitement and power of a rich spiritual life in communion with God.”
Picture courtesy of Jacob Taylor
Jacob Taylor is a lifelong resident of the Mill Creek watershed in SW Ohio. He earned his BA at the University of Cincinnati for literary and cultural studies, and is currently studying environmental theology at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. His interests include community gardening, herbalism, reading the mystics, and pining for the revolution.
Jacob’s photo won first place with the title, “Theotokos in the Apothecary.” He states this about his photograph: “The guiding question behind my work concerns what it means to live incarnationally & eucharistically in the age of the Anthropocene. How can I, with Mary as a model, bear Christ into a world where the heavy foot of human domination and extractive economics has driven our common home into a mass extinction event? I continue to draw strength and meaning from my tradition’s central sacred story of incarnation — it gives me the courage to keep moving and struggling towards shalom against the odds, trusting the mystery of “God with us” as we face this bewildering moment in human/geological history. Theotokos calls me to remember that something profound occurs when we consent to the invitation of God. At the core of the Christian eschatological vision is the unwavering assertion that all things are being made new and that human beings are invited to conspire with God in this process of restoration. May we, with Mary, have the courage to say yes, come hell or high water. ”
Picture courtesy of .paxgaia.ca
The Ecology of Prayer is an essay written by Fred Bahnson in Orion magazine where he discusses how crucial it is for people of faith to actively be engaged in stopping climate change and making the world a more sustainable place. Bahnson directly asks Christians: “If the underlying message is that we just need to green up our lifestyles without any real sacrifice, what’s the point? But no, I fear that the crisis before us will ask far more of us than we realize. Climate change can’t be just another bullet point on the church mission statement. We need a deeper form of political engagement, one that leads us to confront the darkness of the human heart.” To read The Ecology of Prayer, click here.
Image courtesy of creationcare.org
A Month of Gratitude is a way that Christine Sine, creator of Godspace and writer for EEN Moms, is focusing on God’s abundant blessings. Instead of just making the week of Thanksgiving a gratitude week, she has decided to make October and November a season of gratitude. She offers simple ways that anyone can join her by praying, focusing, and practicing. To read more about how you can join her in this season of gratitude, click here.