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 .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.
The United Methodist Women logo taken from http://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org
Spiritual Wholeness and Climate Justice is an article from the United Methodist Women. They believe that, “Part of being whole persons in Jesus Christ includes a just relationship with earth and all its communities.” The article goes on to talk about taking action, living with purpose, and how to “Be Just. Be Green.” To read the entire article, click here.
Picture courtesy of sojo.net
How Do We Declare Creation ‘Very Good’ in the Face of Climate Change? is an article from Sojourners magazine written by Neddy Astudillo. The article discusses how the impending reality of climate change challenges the understanding of creation as ‘good’. Astudillo states, “We must live in the present but with our hearts fixed on the future. Not just the future that awaits us in heaven, but the one concerned with this Earth. We must believe in personal change, the kind of change that comes from the heart and can withstand difficulties. We know the importance of sacrifice for the common good. These values are the missing link to reducing emissions and sinking carbon back into living soils, through lifestyles that care for the Earth and her most vulnerable creatures.” To read more, click here.
Picture courtesy of christianitytoday.com
What Trees Tell Us about Life, Death, and Resurrection is an article from Christianity Today that was written by Matthew Sleeth. The article discusses how often trees are mentioned in the Bible and the frequent association between trees and major characters and events in the Bible; other than God and people trees are the most mentioned living thing in the Bible. The article goes on to discuss the tree of life and the relationship between trees and death. To read the entire article on What Trees Tell Us about Life, Death, and Resurrection, click here.
Picture courtesy of sojo.net
A Hymn for Justice is published by Sojourners and written by Caroline Winfrey Gillette who has written over 400 hymns. The hymn describes justice, mercy, kindness, love, and peace and references Luke 1:46-55. To view the entire hymn, click here.
Picture courtesy of greenfaith.org
Interfaith Prayers is a resource from GreenFaith that can be used as a guide to celebrating the Season of Creation. This document contains over 100 prayers that are each labeled with the author and tradition and they are all focused on the environment. To download or view these prayers, click here.
Image courtesy of Hans Howe
Prolific American author Wendell Berry is known for his poetry, essays, novels and his activism. His experiences as the son of a farmer directed his work later in life as an author and activist. His activism began in 1968 with A Statement Against the War in Vietnam” which was published in 1969 in a collection of essays. His activism has continued throughout his career and he has taken a special interest in environmental issues.
His work has received numerous awards, most of which can be found here at a fan website. In addition to his many already published works, Mr. Berry has two books to be published in the next year: Fidelity: Five Stories (Aug 2018 – rerelease; original publication date 1992) and The Art of Loading Brush New Agrarian Writings (Jan 2019).
Beloved for his insightful and steady voice which argues for a profound reflection and connection with the earth, Berry has been an influential American voice through the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. There are many recommendations for the best place to start when reading Wendell Berry, but there is agreement that the most important thing is to start.
For Wendell Berry’s own website click here. A fan website has collected many online resources for those interested in Wendell Berry, which can be found here. Berry’s published work can be found from major booksellers and your favorite independent bookstore. Click here to be taken to his author page on Amazon.