From Barren to Fruitful

An early bloom from one of my magnolia trees.

My garden is confused. This past week seemed like June instead of April. It has been a week of unseasonable weather. Following a Nor’easter one week and another of monsoon rains, this week saw sunshine and record high temperatures.  Forsythia usually blooms in southwestern Connecticut around April 15th, followed by the tulips, lilacs and magnolia trees a month later. This week, they all bloomed together.

There’s been lots of pro and con editorials in my local newspaper whether global warming really exists. With the huge cold and snowfall this winter, several ‘locals’ say it’s a scientist’s imagination. But global warming is about dramatic fluctuations and erratic weather patterns. March and April are prime examples that our planet is in danger.

April 22nd is Earth Day. Lots of communities and churches will note the day with ceremony, events and prayer. But what about the

Early flowering lilacs.

other 364 days? There are lots of resources for individuals and faith communities to reflect on what it means to be a steward of God’s creation. And how to protect what we have left for future generations.

Faith & Nature: The Divine Adventure of Life on Earth by Phyllis Strupp  (Morehouse Education Resources, 2010) is an intergenerational spiritual formation program that explores and embraces how God is at work in nature. It is a downloadable resource here. You can preview another award-winning book by Phyllis called The Richest of Fare about spirituality in the Sonoran Desert.

To Serve and Guard the Earth by Beth Bojarski (Morehouse Education Resources, 2010) connects the growing Christian environmental concern with the theology of creation in Genesis. It too is a downloadable resource for adults and high school youth.

The National Council of Churches of Christ’s Eco-Justice Network also offers numerous programs on sustainability, climate justice, global warming, and stewardship of the environment.

The Season of Creation is designated as four weeks in September, but can be celebrated at any time of year. Rogation Days in the spring time as well as The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 6th might also be considered. The Web of Creation as well as the Season of Creation websites have lots of ideas to offer.

Speaking of Faith for Small Groups: Sustainable Faith is a downloadable resource with MP3 files to continue the conversation from Krista Tippett’s popular radio program. Discuss your role as a steward of the planet and how to make sense of the current climate of challenging political and environmental issues. Inspire conversation and introspection about the choices we make about nourishing ourselves, both nutritionally and spiritually. Hear from experts working to meet needs on the frontlines of suffering in both Africa and New Orleans. Meet a host of inspirational people brave enough to challenge the establishment to ensure that both the planet and the people who inhabit it are protected.

An early busy bee

A Reflection on our Present Plight
Hildegard of Bingen

The high,
the low
all of creation
God gives to humankind to use. If this privilege is misused,
God’s Justice permits creation to punish humanity.

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