John Glaser, president of seventy
(Adapted from Exploring Community of Christ Basic Beliefs: A Commentary edited by Anthony J. Chvala-Smith, pp. 65-66. A Kindle version is available at www.HeraldHouse.org.)
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. -Colossians 3:14-16
Even as a child, I remember feeling angst at seeing pictures of burning rain forests and the wanton environmental destruction by humans. I have to credit my elementary teachers who taught us of the wealth of forests, nature, and the need to protect our environment. My adolescent character was fostered by social marketing campaigns and slogans by a cartoonish owl stating, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.” It seems that the onset of adulthood gives us the ability to question the effectiveness of social marketing techniques by the authorities as demonstrated by the rise of debates regarding global warming. Some argue whether or not global warming is a real phenomenon. Meanwhile, environmental destruction continues unabated.
The voice of Community of Christ comforts me greatly. To know that we worship a God that values all of creation and values our participation in that creation gives me hope and grounds my faith. My discipleship requires me to consider the prophetic voices of others such as Rachel Carson. In her book Silent Spring, she challenged the pesticide economy that existed in her world by drawing ethical direction from the writings of Albert Schweitzer. We appreciate their voices for they resonate with the inspiration we draw from a God that demonstrates a reverence for all creation.
We in turn lift up the prophetic voice in our time and the places in which we live. It is not a voice that divides but instead seeks to heal others and our environment. To see the interconnectedness of life and spirit allows us not just to understand poverty and suffering, but to feel it. Beyond quantifying poverty, we are given the opportunity to experience it qualitatively and through all our rich human senses as Christ would have. In feeling pain and poverty we are allowed the opportunity to be participants in creating change and in alleviating suffering.
Although we are drawn to the desire to create significant change in the world, we recognize that change as Christians is interpersonal and is realized in our daily interactions. For example, I was persuaded by a church colleague’s life choices to engage in a plant-based diet. Although I began my diet last year for health reasons, my new eating habits and behaviors have begun to affect and alter my beliefs. I now see my relationship to food with new spiritual senses beyond the mere gustatory. This simple change in eating habits has allowed me to relate to the world around me with a renewed ethic and care for the environment, plants, animals, and humans. These meaningful changes have occurred due to my collegial relationship. Authentic human change is interpersonal. God’s creation in all its beauty and wonder is to be shared one with another in interpersonal dialogue that goes beyond social marketing, mass media, and the sponsored content of the Internet. To borrow a phrase from my childhood, God indeed, gives a hoot.
“Practice Resurrection” (Wendell Berry).
During this Easter season, we invite you daily into a breath prayer focused on resurrection. With each exhale, respond in a word or phrase to the question, “What is dying?” (fear, anger, assumptions, etc.) With each inhale, notice a response in a word or phrase to the question “What is rising?” (love, courage, trust, etc.) You may choose to use the same word or phrase throughout this season, or let each day bring its own unique response to this sacred pattern of dying and rising that is central to our faith.\xe2\x80\x83
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.