Article by Kip Coerper, organist and choirmaster for St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles and a GreenFaith Fellow. He offers reflections on climate justice and caring in the monthly “Green Corner.”
God’s world is expansive. We have been created to dwell with all people and all things in solidarity with love and care for the other. This spirit of ubuntu (“I am because we all are”) is a driving spirit of caring for others and for our creation. Multiple faith communities have ways of expressing this caring. GreenFaith (a multi-faith environmental organization) has provided a multi-faith collection of resources for what they call the Sacred Season for Climate Justice, inviting diverse religious communities to bring attention to creation care during the sacred holidays observed between March 17th and May 6th. Sacred Season of climate care and environmental justice. View the resource collection here: Sacred Season for Climate Justice Resource Collection.
Many religious holidays happen between March 17th and May 6th, including Ramadan for Muslims, Easter for Christians, and Passover for Jews. And April 22nd is Earth Day. So it is an appropriate time to share these opportunities for reflection on how we can lean into environmental justice and show ways of caring more and more for where we live, so we leave the earth a cleaner place for the “Seventh generation” beyond us.
Indigenous author the Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley explains the “harmony way” in his book Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth. The “harmony way” with each other and with the earth occurs when:
“…a deep respect characterizes those relationships. The wisdom of Indigenous stories and traditions emphasizes the importance of restoring the relationships that exist among Creator, humans, animals, and the Earth… One of the principle values found within the way of harmony is generosity, often expressed through hospitality.”
Are you being hospitable to your neighbor, to your plants, to your animals? Woodley continues, “Other values include respect for everything and everyone and a lifestyle of gratitude, especially to the Earth, which produces well and in abundance,” especially when we do not tamper with it, ie. with chemicals, resource depletion, or pollution.
All of the major faith communities around the world speak of this recognition of respect and honoring life—humanity and the Earth. During this Sacred Season for the earth, consider learning more about the wisdom that has been passed down from generations in your faith tradition to help empower you to make a positive difference in how you interact with and care for the earth and your fellow neighbor.