April 24 - 30, 2006




Has Earth Day's time arrived at last?

Maybe it's the mounting evidence of global warming -- the melting ice caps, the ferocious storms and tornadoes, the lengthening growing season, the migration of tropical insects into temperate zones, etc. -- that is causing people of faith to take the environment seriously. (Check out the items in Gleanings.) But then, maybe it's gas at $3 a gallon.

This year's observance of the John Denver-era holiday brought new voices to the "Save the Earth" choir of Unitarians, Methodists, coastal Lutherans, Episcopalians and the other traditional members of the religious left. It brought the voices of conservative Evangelicals. Heck, even Evangelical oilman-turned-politician George Bush is talking about energy conservation! 

It's nice to see Christians coming together at last to protect God's wonderful creation. And of course, by protecting creation we are actually just protecting ourselves. If we trash our world and make it inhabitable, we're out of luck. Not a lot of blue planets close by, if you catch my drift. And there's a lot of work to be done and, scientists tell us, not a lot of time in which to do it.

This year, why not make it a priority in your church to underscore the complexity, the wonder, the interconnectedness and the fragility of God's creation? You can start by dusting off the old Rogation Days celebration, which takes place in the sixth Sunday in Easter. You can involve the children of the congregation -- have them plant seeds or take care of flowers on the church grounds. A number of resources can be found in the listing below. But I'd be interested in hearing from pastors and other leaders on creative approaches you've come up with for your congregation as the year goes on.

--Rob Blezard, Webmaster and editor

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New This Week:

Plan to celebrate Rogation Sunday on May 21
The sixth Sunday of Easter, this year May 21, is the traditional Rogation Sunday, when Christians ask God's blessing on the fields and farms. We need it because our culture has become more insulated than ever from the earth's seasons and cycles of life. A pastor from Canada called Rogation Sunday  "a Christian Earth Day," a traditional time honoring God's creation. Here are some resources you can use May 21 -- or any Sunday you want to remember God's handiwork:
Click here for a service from the Resource Center, Northwest Synod of Wisconsin.
Click here for a service from the Center for Theology and Land, run by Wartburg Theological Seminary and the University of Dubuque Seminary.
Click here for a service from the Stewardship of Life Institute (that's us!).
Click here  for Rogation FAQ and resources from the ELCA.
Click here for liturgical resources from Web of Creation.

Unwrap and use your God-given talents 
"If watching American Idol inspires you to find out what you are made of and what you are capable of, then God bless it.  If it just keeps you from exploring who you are and what gifts God has given you to use in this world, then turn it off and get out there. Who are you and who is this God who has made you? Click here for this column from pastor Dana Reardon. Click here to read other columns from her archives.

Starting somewhere: 5 views on giving
"Both the anecdotal evidence and the research point to the fact that biblical stewardship has been Christianity's silent subject for 40 to 50 years. Today, there is a whole generation of church leaders who have not had biblical stewardship principles taught or modeled to them in any effective way.!"  Click here for "5 Views" from ChurchCentral.com.

The church's call to environmental stewardship
The biblical call to stewardship will lead us to foster quality of life. The quality of life that is measured only by material goods and economic factors is incomplete. Total quality of life must include the health and stability of the natural world, relative justice and peace for people, and the free and true worship of God Almighty. It is on this basis, on this biblical vision, that Christians are motivated to respond to ecological crises." Click here for "The church's call to environmental stewardship," by Gilson A.C. Waldkoenig in the Lutheran Laity Movement Archives. This week's Treasure Chest offering.