This is the last week for peace month at Camas Friends even though January officially ended a couple days ago. I thought why not extend it just a little longer so we can focus on making peace with the earth? To get things started off properly I decided to take a couple walks today. First I strolled at a pace that I could breathe slowly, pray and take in the sites attentively. I find that some of my best times of prayer and thought are when I am outside walking. I walked through a neighbor in Camas I’ve yet to cross on foot. I tried to take in the beauty of nature, reflect on the state of the buildings (and imagine then as different things), and think through what it meant to be physically present as the church in that neighborhood. Then, after lunch, I walked back to the office taking in similar things with a different landscape. I spent the rest of the day looking in the the Scriptures about creation, skimming through some of my books, and looking online at a variety of Quaker testimonies on caring for the Earth.
One thing that initially drew me to Camas Friends was the obvious interest in creation care (I prefer the term creation care, to Earthcare, not shying away from the biblical aspect of this theology). Prior to our arrival they were already doing lots of cool stuff. From a “Peace Camp” for children that taught, among other things, on “Peace with the Earth,” to doing classes using the Northwest Earth Institute curriculum, I was impressed that the congregation was actively engaged in learning and teaching on this subject.
So, when it comes to this week then, what is it that I should share? I have this feeling that many people are not only actively working out what it means to be aware of our environment, but are doing more to actually care for it. Surely, Sunday can’t be a how-to guide full of “time-saving” tips on caring for creation. Nor can it be a message that tries to prove that Global Climate Change is happening. Nor can I outline all of what a theology of creation looks like. My approach will be at least two fold. First, I want to discuss my own journey, and allow space for others to share their stories, on how I/we became aware of creation. What was it that led to realizing there was something to notice? How did God call us to come to peace with “all things” as it says in Colossians 1? What does it mean to be reconnected to the Earth in this way? And the other part of this will be to reflect on how caring for the Earth is not some new idea, it’s not a political idea that Al Gore invented (though he’s helped draw attention to some of this) and that more conservative folks ought to reject on “principle.” This is the biblical story. This is our story. And this is our gift. If it is our story, if the reconciliation of “all things” really is in the works, then we have a role to play in that.
So on Sunday, our last Sunday for peace month, we will also again enter a space already covered by the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.” This is my prayer for us.