This weekend, many churches will celebrate Earth Day. Preachers will extoll the beauty of God’s creation. Hymns like “This is My Father’s World,” “Earth and All Stars,” and “For the Beauty of the Earth” will be sung. The emphasis will be on celebrating the glories of creation.
I can’t do it this year.
When I was a pastor I would place a pot of soil, a watering can, and a basket of seeds on the altar and invite the children to help me bless them. We would invite congregants to bring their garden tools and gloves, wheelbarrows, and even tractors to church, and we would process outside and ask for God’s blessings on our labors for and with the earth. Everyone would choose a packet of seeds from the basket and depart with the promise of spring and new life—and with the satisfaction that we had done our part for God’s creation.
These rituals of creation care are right and salutary. But they’re not going to cut the mustard right now.
Now is not the time for feel-good “green” hymns and ecological tokenism in our churches. Not when the Trump administration has installed the most anti-environmental cabinet in our nation’s history and Congress has voted to give coal mining companies free rein to pollute waterways to their stone-cold hearts’ content. Not when air pollution, pesticides, poor diets, and radiation have led to a sharp increase in cancer diagnoses among children. Not when fracking and drilling are poisoning the air, water, and land of our communities.
And not when people like Waldomiro Costa Pereira are being murdered for trying to protect their land from rapacious corporations and wealthy landowners.
To read the rest of this article, please click on the link in The Christian Century here.