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Don Robinson: Be spiritual on Earth Day

Posted: April 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

We tend to think of Earth Day as a physical thing — a time to celebrate Earth’s beauty and provision and to recognize some of its needs for maintenance. This is a good thing.

But certainly for Christians and Jews, Earth Day should also be celebrated as a spiritual event. It is a time to reflect on how we can honor a key component of our relationship with God — the divine command to care for all of creation.

Our Bible is persistent in its proclamation of this charge — from the story of creation, to the account of Abram and Sarai called to be a blessing to the world, to the cry of the prophets for Israel to come out of self-centeredness.

Then Jesus adroitly distills the mandate out of all the laws when he tells us that the greatest commandments are to love God and neighbor.

We do not love God when we plunder and wreck God’s creation. We express contempt, not love, for our neighbors when we jeopardize their health, well-being, and life through the mindless burning of fossil fuels.

Engaging in activities productive of climate change is not only crazy, it is a violation of the sacred.

Religious folk should be in the forefront of the struggle to effectively combat the climate change that 97 percent of scientists say is human-caused. The scriptures do not condone a “pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by” attitude, but insist on good stewardship now.

In fact, it can legitimately be asserted that as we destroy earth, we are destroying our heaven. How can God return us to Eden if we have annihilated it?

Why do so many of us resist doing what we need to do? I suggest that it is because of our fears — fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear that we won’t have all we need, fear that we’ll be the only ones and that others won’t do what they should do, fear that we’ll lose some of our precious stuff.

As people of faith, we know in our hearts that these fears are unfounded. God promises to be with us always, particularly when we are living the way God desires us to live.

God promises not only to be with us, but to empower us. We need not be afraid.

So, on this upcoming Earth Day, I implore all, but particularly those who claim to be followers of the God of Abraham and Jesus, to commit to engage in the struggle to protect the holy.

Communicate with your elected officials and let them know that you are not going to tolerate their hiding behind climate change denial.

Support regulations and tax reform such as a revenue-neutral carbon fee that will impede the reckless extraction and consumption of fossil fuels.

Connect with groups such as Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters that are fighting the good fight.

Be willing to adjust your own lifestyle for the good of all. Heaven could very well depend upon it.

The Rev. Don Robinson, retired, is a former Methodist church minister and a resident of Santa Clarita.

 

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