Today (10/4) our Church remembers that crazy saint (Francis of Assisi) who found sisters and brothers every place he turned. His great hymn of praise thanks God for Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Sister Water and Brother Fire. A favorite story of mine is how he brought peace to Gubbio through his conversation with Brother Wolf. In the spirit of Francis, with the insight of this holy man, the bishops of the Episcopal Church issued a “Pastoral Teaching” in September 2011:
We, your bishops, believe these words of Jeremiah describe these times and call us to repentance as we face the unfolding environmental crisis of the earth: How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away, and because people said, “He is blind to our ways.” (Jeremiah 12:4)
The mounting urgency of our environmental crisis challenges us at this time to confess “our self-indulgent appetites and ways,” “our waste and pollution of God’s creation,” and “our lack of concern for those who come after us” (Ash Wednesday Liturgy, Book of Common Prayer, p. 268). It also challenges us to amend our lives and to work for environmental justice and for more environmentally sustainable practices.
They go on to outline their perceptions, offer their insights and commitment to work to heal creation, concluding:
…in order to honor the goodness and sacredness of God’s creation, we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, commit ourselves and urge every Episcopalian:
- To acknowledge the urgency of the planetary crisis in which we find ourselves, and to repent of any and all acts of greed, overconsumption, and waste that have contributed to it;
- To lift up prayers in personal and public worship for environmental justice, for sustainable development, and for help in restoring right relations both among humankind and between humankind and the rest of creation;
- To take steps in our individual lives, and in community, public policy, business, and other forms of corporate decision-making, to practice environmental stewardship and justice, including (1) a commitment to energy conservation and the use of clean, renewable sources of energy; and (2) efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and whenever possible to buy products made from recycled materials;
- To seek to understand and uproot the political, social, and economic causes of environmental destruction and abuse; (iii)
- To advocate for a “fair, ambitious, and binding” climate treaty, and to work toward climate justice through reducing our own carbon footprint and advocating for those most negatively affected by climate change.
Read the Pastoral Teaching of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church
My question to Forum participants: how can we add our active commitment to the commitment made by our bishops? What kinds of things can we do at St. Margaret’s, RIGHT NOW, to walk with our bishops while following the footsteps of St. Francis? Leave a comment. Share your responses here or email me: Dan I think we can …
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