An Earth Day Reflection

Posted on April 22, 2015 by ELCA World Hunger

Gina Tonn

April 22, 2015

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How do you honor God’s creation? Part of my spiritual practice is being a morning person, to honor the light by greeting it early, allowing the new dawn to fill me with the spirit. Each new day is an opportunity to continue the work we are called to do, refreshed and renewed through sleep and new light. I sense hopefulness of morning; I am filled with hope for the world, in our ability to create positive change, for there to be more people fed and nourished each day. I have confidence in the abundance of God’s creation; I see the divine in everything the sun touches.

Even as I honor God’s creation in my rising, I often take the earth and God’s gifts for granted in my living. I confess to being a lesser steward of the earth than I am called to be. I confess to my crimes against the environment – both things done and left undone out of laziness, convenience and self-centeredness. I confess to ignorance about where my food comes from and how it’s grown. I confess to ignoring future degradation for the sake of present quality of life.

My actions contribute to climate change. Climate change disproportionately affects people who live in vulnerable conditions, who experience poverty and hunger. As we observe Earth Day this week, let’s not only recommit to changing our attitudes and actions toward the earth and resources, but also to changing our attitudes and actions about food security, production and access around the world.

This year, the Earth Day Sunday Resource[1] produced by Creation Justice Ministries, formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program, asks “How does food production and consumption impact the climate? How does climate change affect growing and accessing food? How are we sharing communion with God, one another, and all creation?”

In the ELCA Social Statement Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice, our church corporately confesses that we arenot in communion with all creation because of our alienation from God and creation, through captivity to sin. We proclaim God as creator of the earth. We live and work within a scientific world. Divinity and science need not be at odds. As Caring for Creation suggests, “In our time, science and technology can help us to discover how to live according to God’s creative wisdom.” In the United States today, use of science and technology to protect and honor creation is often controlled and dictated by our government. One way we can encourage and participate in ways our government takes action on climate change is through ELCA Advocacy. Other ways to get your congregation involved in caring for creation can be found through Lutherans Restoring Creation, an organization supported in part by grants from ELCA World Hunger.

But caring for creation cannot only be scientific and political; care for the earth is a profoundly spiritual matter.[2] So I will continue to honor God’s creation by rising with the sun and by looking for the divine in the beauty of the earth. I will also work to love God’s creation by mitigating my environmental footprint, better stewarding resources, and accompanying my neighbors near and far who are most susceptible to climate change because of food insecurity. Earth Day is not only an opportunity to celebrate and renew our commitment to environmental sustainability, but also to renew our love for neighbor, as we too were made of earth.

 

Gina Tonn serves as Program Assistant for Education and Constituent Engagement with ELCA World Hunger through a placement in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. 

 

[1] Have you anything here to eat? includes resources and ideas for worship and congregational life such as liturgy, prayers, discussion questions, and action steps.

[2] Paraphrase from Caring for Creation, “Even as we join the political, economic and scientific discussion, we know care for the earth to be a profoundly spiritual matter.” ​

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