April 2 - 9, 2007
Environmental stewardship: For our neighbor's sake
For Christian churches, environmental stewardship is important because creation is God's, and we are entrusted with its care and preservation. This alone justifies that we practice responsible, conservative, sustainable use of God's creation.
But there is another reason even more compelling. Environmental degradation harms our neighbor, whom Jesus commands we are to love as ourselves.
Public health officials have correlated statistical links between various types of pollution and specific disease and death among our neighbors in the United States and the world. Moreover, climate change models show rising sea levels that will affect millions of our neighbors in low-lying countries.
In addition to the harm environmental degradation causes to current neighbors, it also jeopardizes our future neighbors who will arrive in generations to come.
Churches and pastors can help by making environmental stewardship an issue in their worship and preaching. Earth Sunday, April 22, is a great time to visit the issues. The materials in this week's collection of resources can help.
If it's too late to plan something April 22, why not plan "Creation Sunday" later this spring. Rogation Sunday, which is traditionally the Sunday before Ascension (this year May 13) would be another opportunity. We'll have Rogation resources later this month.
As is our custom, now for the fifth year, we will highlight environmental resources all April long. Go green!
Rob Blezard, webmaster and editor
(Reprint rights eagerly granted to congregations for local nonprofit use. Just include the following notice: "Copyright (c) 2007, The Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission.")
New This Week:
Awakening to God's Call to Earthkeeping
Wow! Here's a free 50-page course on how faithful Christians can understand and answer God's call to take care of creation. Its four sessions are extremely detailed and designed for small-group study. Use it to establish and energize a "green team" at your congregation. Click here for “Loaves and Fishes,” from the ELCA Stewardship Resources.
Put Your Tax Refund to God's Use
"Sure, you could save your refund for a rainy day, but somewhere in the world someone is already having a rainy day. Lutheran disaster relief is still at work in Louisiana to cleanup after Hurricane Katrina.'Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.
Earth Day Sunday: The Food that Sustains Us
The National Council of Churches has a number of free resources your church can use to make Earth Day Sunday, April 22, a real celebration of creation -- with a justice twist. You'll find a sermon starter, backgrounder, bulletin inserts, worship helps, an advocacy action plan and more. Click here for “The Food That Sustains Us," from the National Council of Churches USA. Registration required.
'Thine and Thine Own': Orthodoxy and Ecology
Here is a fresh look at the environmental crisis: "Increasing numbers of people conclude that the way out of the crisis requires spiritual renewal: not just a change of habits, but a change of hearts - in Christian terms, repentance. Tragically, the environmental implications of our Christian Faith are so little understood, even among Christians, that the Church is the last place most people look for spiritual solutions." Click here for “Thine and Thine Own," from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.