Daniela C. Augustine
Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday and Pride Sunday for many United Church congregations. I wonder if any worked in World Environment Day as well? I've joked tht the motto of the UCC could be "the importance of being earnest" but acknowledging all three in worship would have been a stretch. Please note that the United Church calendar did include all of 'em as well as Union Sunday to mark the 97th anniversary of the United Church.
The theme for Environment Day this year is Only One Earth and the website makes the bold statement:
In the universe are billions of galaxies,
In our galaxy are billions of planets, But there is Only One Earth.
It is extraordinary that in looking to the skies through the centuries with increasing sophisticated equipment, along with space probes venturing further and further, there is no evidence of life anywhere else. Yet we seem incapable of respecting Earth, our planetary home. Most major religions affirm that there is a Creator who brought all we see around us into being. Even Buddhism, a non-theistic religion, encourages respect and acknowledges the interrelatedness of everything. Harming one part of this whole is the same as harming all of it.
Yesterday we heard that on the day of Pentecost there was a sound like rushing wind and the appearance of tongues of fire above the heads of each of the Jesus followers gathered that day. There is a grim irony that we live in a time when wildfires literally roar through areas of beauty and diversity across this continent and around the world. There is no doubt in the scientific community that climate change is an accelerator for extreme weather events, including these uncontrollable fires.
While fire can be terribly destructive in also provides warmth and illumination. The coincidence of Pentecost and Environment Day can "fire us up", awaken our imaginations, stir us to action. We can listen to the millions of young people around the world who have visions and dreams for a livable planet. While our UCC congregations may be aging there is no reason we can't allow the Holy Spirit to stir us to action, to affirm that God chose to be with us in Jesus, the Christ, on this precious Earth.
Spirit, Spirit of gentleness,
blow thro' the wilderness calling and free,
Spirit, Spirit of restlessness,
stir me from placidness,
Wind, Wind on the sea.
4 You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes,
from the bondage of sorrow the captives dream dreams,
our women see visions, our men clear their eyes,
with bold new decisions your people arise. R
Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness Voices United 375