April 23 - 29 , 2007



Here is an archive column from 2005 but which still holds true. I'll be back with a fresh column next week. Enjoy! --Rob Blezard

Every Day is Earth Day

One day a year our nation leaves its climate-controlled houses and SUVs long enough to stroll through some woods, pluck a beer can from the roadside, plant a tree or two, watch a scampering squirrel and nod sagely while listening to a talk about energy conservation.

And if a congregation is lucky, at least one Sunday a year its minister will climb into the pulpit to reflect on our sacred duty as stewards of the earth.

But the fact that we make such a big deal of the environment only once a year shows what the real problem is: We are self-absorbed and fail to think of the natural environment as a part of us.  We can get away with it because most of us live most of our lives in totally unnatural environments, and that is because of our affluence.

Central heating and air conditioning mean that our living rooms can stay 68 degrees year-round, regardless of whether there is a blizzard raging outdoors or it’s 100 degrees in the shade.

Refrigeration and fast shipping bring the world’s produce to our supermarkets, ensuring our supply of food regardless of regional droughts or floods. So it’s easy for us not to see how climate change is affecting agriculture.

Since wildlife is something we see primarily on The Animal Planet, we think of disappearing wildlife, forests in crisis, melting ice caps, receding glaciers and sick oceans as something distant and abstract.

And until recently, the low cost of fossil fuels meant we could forego the kind of no-brainer energy saving that Europe and Japan have taken for granted for decades.

These factors and others have helped insulate us from the reality of environmental degradation -- and the fact that it stems from our collective choices as human beings.

As Christian theologians over the centuries have noted, our chief sin as people is we are selfish -- curved in on ourselves -- and tend to act in our own self-interest despite the consequences to the world around us.

In fact, we are so inwardly directed, we fail even to see it. Our sinfulness keeps us from seeing our sinfulness. Instead, like the Pharisees of Jesus’s day, we think of sin only as the laws we break and the things we do, not what we are – pathologically self-worshiping and self-interested.

That’s why pastors can look at every sermon as an Earth Sunday sermon – to call God’s people to repent from our sin of self-absorption and to understand ourselves in relationship to everyone and everything else on the planet.

As people of God, we can look at every day as Earth Day – an opportunity to repent from our sin, to look beyond ourselves and see our relationship to the rest of God’s creation.

-Rob Blezard, Editor and Webmaster
(Reprint rights eagerly granted for nonprofit congregational use. Just include this notice: "Copyright (c) 2005 The Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission.")

New This Week:

Earth Day 2007 Message from Bishop Hanson
Mark S. HansonAdding to the voices urging environmental responsibility was ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson: "On Earth Day, April 22, I urge you also to remember God's exhortation to us to till and keep the earth (Genesis 2:15) in the face of a growing body of evidence from scientists around the world that global warming is threatening the future of creation and the health and well-being of all living things." Click here for Bishop Hanson's Earth Day Message, from the ELCA website.

Dana Reardon
A Christian Walk is More Than Happiness
"When we think that being Christian is simply about behaving ourselves and not doing anything terrible or mean, then we might think we could pursue happiness as long as we don't hurt anyone. Then we have missed the point." Click here for the latest weekly column by Pastor Dana Reardon. To read past columns, click here.

Eco-Justice MinistriesThree layers of Environmental Preaching
Pastors who may be reluctant to preach on environmental issues can take inspiration from this informative essay, which broadens the conventional notion that environmental preaching always means addressing controversial political issues. Good reading for pastors who want to lead their congregations in new directions. Click here for “Three Layers of Environmental Preaching,” from Eco-Justice Ministries.

Season of Creation: An Invitation to Worship
GreenFaithHere's a novel idea to invigorate the environmental presence of your congregation -- adopt a "Season of Creation" into your church calendar. You will find good suggestions and resources for how to devote a number of weeks to the environment. Click here for "Season of Creation: An Invitation to Worship, from Web of Creation.