Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis has 28 short essays that are perfect for reading a chapter a day through the season of Advent.
For Christians, Advent is the first season of the liturgical year.
During these four weeks in December, the church prepares to celebrate the birth of Jesus who is believed to be both the Son of God and a Child of Earth. As my friend and fellow homiletical scholar, Suzanne Duchesne, has pointed out, Advent is an ideal time to contemplate our connection to the Earth.
This is a chance for human beings to stretch out our spirit to – the Creating, The Creation, or The Creator – however you understand your relationship to be to the Earth and the universe. This allows us to expand our worldview so that we might become conscientized to the suffering too many human beings cause. This happens not only through our actions but in the very words and thoughts we use to describe our relationship with the Earth.
Suzanne recently reviewed Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, a book I’ve co-edited with my colleague Margaret Bullitt-Jonas.
She noticed that the book offers a unique opportunity for contemplation during the Advent season.
Rooted and Rising is not only a resource for Christian preachers or teachers but for anyone who wants to explore various diverse worldviews concerning the Earth – human relationship and the future we are creating together. Theologians, environmentalists, activists, scholars of all different faiths, traditions, and cultures can be found here.
Some of the reflections seek to uplift and provide hope while others name the realities faced daily with little hope to offer. Viewed through the lenses of racism, domination, gender bias, and colonization, this book provides insights for anyone who has ears to listen. The conversations provide an opportunity to hear another view without interruption. The exercises provide an invitation to ponder without judgment.
“Since the book is 28 chapters, it would make a unique daily study for those within the Christian tradition for an Advent meditation.”
Margaret and I think that using Rooted and Rising as an Advent devotional is a wonderful idea. The book is ideal for Christians looking to deepen their faith and their connection to Creation as well as people of other faiths. Consider, for example, pondering these questions that follow the Introduction:
- Which of the impacts of climate change most concerns you or most captures your attention? How has climate change affected your town or region? What changes have you noticed? What do you feel as you consider what lies ahead for your community and our planet? What most alarms you?
- Lament, resilience, and action are highlighted as essential responses to the climate crisis. Each of us may go through different “seasons” of emphasizing one over the others. Which of these responses has resonated most strongly for you in the past? Which of these responses is most prominent in your life right now? Which response might need more of your attention in the days ahead?
These questions are followed by a spiritual practice called “Creation Sacred Space.”
Creating a sacred space
People who take up a regular practice of prayer or meditation often find it helpful to create a special place in their home where they can practice without distraction. It might be a corner of your bedroom or another quiet spot where you can close the door, turn off the phone, sit in silence, and give prayer or meditation your full attention.
If this accords with your tradition, you might wish to set up a simple altar with a candle, plant, or image that reminds you of your intention to create a peaceful, sacred space. If space is limited and you can’t set aside a place for prayer, you might try something as simple as choosing a special cloth or candle to put beside you when it is time to pray.
Establishing a beautiful setting and calm atmosphere for prayer supports our intention to slow down, notice what is going on, and seek the Holy. Creating a sacred space that is outside us can also help us to recognize and uphold the sacred space that is inside us.
Creating sacred space is exactly what Advent is all about.
It allows us to make room for the arrival of the Divine seeking to birth something new within us, within our relationships and communities, and within our planet itself. Whatever your tradition, beliefs, or religion, may you discover your own rootedness within Creation, so that you may rise into greater compassion, solidarity with those who suffer, and energy for activism.
Rooted and Rising has been recognized as a #1 “Hot New Release” on Amazon in the category of Christian Ecumenism. The book is available from Rowman & Littlefield, and you can use the code RLFANDF30 for a 30% discount for a limited time: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538127759/Rooted-and-Rising-Voices-of-Courage-in-a-Time-of-Climate-Crisis
Leah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky. She is the author of Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), and Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015).