Friday, October 08, 2010

Loving The Earth

Holy days provide an annual opportunity to reflect on themes of our core values. The feast of St. Valentine was first established in Feb 14th 496 by Pope Gelasius I. Not much is known about Valentine except that he was a martyr that about 270 chose to die rather than deny Christ. St Valentine's day is associated with love.

In my concordance of the Old and New Testament love has a longer entry than salvation, sin, forgiveness, law or anything else except God, Lord and Jesus Christ. It has different meanings depending on where it is used. To Yahweh love is loyalty and obedience. To love your neighbor is to consider their interests to be equal to your own and to help out when they are in need, even if you don't like them because some day you may be in need. These were both means of achieving the religious function of creating and maintaining tribal cohesion in order to survive. Jesus used the Good Samaritan parable to show that the neighbor includes everybody that you meet even if they are outside the tribe. Now, after poets and theologians have filled libraries, some, notably our own local Dr. Sally McFague are saying that we need to think of other species and even the environment as "neighbors" and to love the world.

Love is more than rules for social cohesion, feelings, or something that fulfills a desire. There are lots of kinds of love and the term is used so often and in so many aspects of our lives that it is possibly the most complicated subject to describe, and at the same time it can be the easiest to experience. Love is a verb. Love involves an exchange of giving and receiving between yourself and an other, and to experience all the different kinds of love requires a community. Love is not a solitary endeavor, it requires a relationship. The beloved is rarely far from your attention and you will do what you can to keep them from perishing.

Small groups of people, working within larger groups, can not only develop their own social capital, but are also able to reach out and engage with the neighborhood, government and world at large. One example appropriate for today involves global warming and the religious community.

Today in the United States the sermon in hundreds of churches will be about global warming. This event was organized by "Interfaith Power and Light", whose objectives are described by president and founder the Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham in the following quote.

"Interfaith Power and Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation.

Global warming is one of the biggest threats facing humanity today. The very existence of life — life that religious people are called to protect — is jeopardized by our continued dependency on fossil fuels for energy. Every mainstream religion has a mandate to care for creation. We were given natural resources to sustain us, but we were also given the responsibility to act as good stewards and preserve life for future generations.

We focus on tangible results in congregations–putting our faith into action. This work includes educating congregations and helping them buy energy efficient lights and appliances, providing energy audits and implementing the recommendations, encouraging people to buy more fuel efficient vehicles and to drive less, supporting renewable energy development through “greentags,” working on large-scale renewable energy installation projects such as rooftop solar and advocating for sensible energy and global warming policy."

There is more information and resources at It is encouraging to see the growing numbers of green congregations that are educating themselves and organizing to participate in loving the world through engagement of community. I am looking forward to all of the projects that will be happening here at Christ Church Cathedral during the coming year.

Have a happy Valentine's day and remember to send some love to Mother Earth.

Another "Caring for Creation" page in the Christ Church Cathedral's weekly chronicle for Feb 14th.


Post a Comment

<< Home