Dear Church Family,
Inspired by Earth Day, here are some practices to help us with intentionality, prayerfulness, awareness, and faithfulness to God, Creation, and the human community. These have been shared with us by Rev. Leah D. Schade.
1. Observe and wonder. Begin a weekly ritual of settling into a circle of nature for a few minutes of observation, contemplation, and appreciation. Maybe your yard, a green space during your lunch break at work, or just a crack in the sidewalk where weeds and grass have pushed through. Let this time center you in prayer, wonder, and gratitude.
2. Plant and grow. Make a plan for your garden. Even if it’s just some pots on your porch or windowsill, think about what vegetables and flowers you would like to grow this season and determine when you’ll plant them.
3. Share your green space on social media. Find interesting angles to take pictures of the plants and trees in your living space. When you post your pics, share that caring for God’s Creation is part of your faith and encourage others to post their photos in the thread.
4. Play Earth Day bingo! This is a great activity to do with children. Make up a card with things in nature they might find in a walk around your neighborhood or in the backyard. Include dogs, birds, trees, grass, flowers, and insects. As they find each one, stop and say a prayer of thanks that God has created this beautiful discovery.
5. Advocate online. Find out what environmental legislation is currently under consideration in Congress.
Call your representative and senators and encourage them to support the strongest protections for our planet.
Tell them you are a Christian who votes on climate issues and ask them to support climate legislation.
Call your local mayor’s office and ask if there is a task force for addressing climate preparedness. If there is, thank them and ask how you can help. If not, ask why. Share with them what you’ve learned about how climate change will likely affect your community.
6. Read and educate. If you’re a pastor, order a copy of Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (by yours truly) and plan a sermon where you’ll address caring for God’s Creation.
7. Plan a worship service celebrating God’s Creation. If you are a clergy person or worship leader, Earth Month and the season of Easter is a great time to lift up the beauty and fragility of God’s Creation. Plan time in the service for folks to share about their favorite place in nature. Ask how this place has a spiritual connection for them.
8. Pray for earth and vulnerable communities. Write a prayer of lament, confession, thanks, or intercession regarding Creation. Share it on social media along with a favorite nature picture. Consider sharing it with your pastor and ask if it could be read at the service on Sunday.
9. Honor Native legacy. Do some research about the history of Indigenous peoples in the place where you live. What disturbs you? What humbles you? What surprises you? How might you reconsider your relationship with the natural world in light of Native American practices of honoring our relationship with all our relatives—human and other-than-human?
10. Thank those who nurtured your love of nature. Think about the person who has taught you the most about environmental concerns and cultivated your love of nature. Write them a letter thanking them for what they have taught you. If the person is no longer living, read the letter to someone close to you in order to honor that person’s memory.
Practices excerpted from For the Beauty of the Earth: A Lenten Devotional by Leah D. Schade.