In our Week in the Word feature, I like to share words from progressive voices here in the south-land, speaking speaking out about justice, care for the earth, and our deepest values.
This week I share the words of Rev. Jenny Schultz-Thomas, pastor of Community United Church of Christ of Raleigh, NC. She says very well something I’ve had heavy on my heart as we face the tragedy of our historic hurricanes and storms shaking the southern coasts.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
The most devastating news about climate change is that we will continue to see catastrophic storm systems developing across the globe which will take and destroy life in the blink of an eye–all of which are due to our enduring sins of greed and our insatiable appetite for more, more, more. My prayer tonight for those in the wake of this storm includes a long confession, coupled with a commitment to do even more to combat climate change.
What I can’t do: erase thousands of years of misuse and abuse of the Earth and her gifts. What I can do: educate my children and those in my realm of influence about working to care for all of God’s creation, choose clean energy and renewables over fossil fuels, stop investing in the destruction of the planet, but use my voice and my financial resources to further the advancement of a cleaner, greener, better world (thanks, Rodney Sadler!)…where an economy of shared resources leads to an ecology of shared resiliency and sacred worth for All living things.
None of this is possible without first a confession:
Dear God of the wind, and rain, God of the waters and waves, God of the storm and calm, we confess that we have set Mother Earth against her children by growing selfish and crazed by the gods of this time; while dumping upon those with less we seek only to steal, kill and destroy that ours may be bellies filled to overflowing, drunk in our own lust for the shiny things that this life has promised, we are lost in a hollow valley of abundance. Bring us to our knees, not only as the raging storms sling timber carcasses through our windows, but as the calm surrender of the eye passes over-bring us to our knees. In the quiet moments, months, years of soggy devastation, and silent pleas for help- bring us to our knees.
God of the storm, your waters bring both death and life, your rage leads us to hide and to climb high; to rise and to fall, to speak and to fall silent. God of THIS storm, we ask you to humbly move, again, upon the waters with your right hand before you- as rescuer of the poor, vindicator of the oppressed, healer of the wounded, and haven for the lost. We ask you to sustain each warrior who moves like the merciful in the mysterious wake, to uphold the meek as the intensity of flight inflicts paralysis and fear, and to Sovereign the dying that their last might be breathed in the shelter of your womb.
Bring us to our knees, Holy One, bring us to our knees.