Read: Jeremiah 4:23
I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.
Remember the cliché, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it”? Bishop Stephen Charleston says that we are doing many things about it, but few of them are good. The last few years have been some of the warmest on record, yet some wonder why.
There is no such thing as a private sin or private virtue because we are interconnected. As John Donne, a priest in the Church of England in the seventeenth-century wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; …any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
The bell has been tolling for women and men to recognize that our consumption has resulted in a global change in climate. When we read about extreme heat on the other side of the globe or floods in places that are usually dry, we cannot merely think about the plight of “those people.” In Christ we are one. We live together; we die together, but we are together as children of God. There are no islands.
This is especially true for those of us in the United States because our economy pushes consumption far beyond nature’s capacity for renewal.
In this Lenten season, ask yourself what resurrection God yearns to bring for the well-being of the Creator’s world. Look at your consumption and consider changes in your life to make the earth better for your greatgrandchildren as well as for future generations across the world. One place to start: Research Interfaith Power and Light at www.interfaithpowerandlight.org and see what steps you could take individually and in your congregation.
O gracious Father, who opens your hand and fills all things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters, and multiply the harvests of the world; let your Spirit go forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show your loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and save us from selfish use of what you give, that men and women everywhere may give you thanks; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer, p. 828)
Porter Taylor serves as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.