I love this season that surrounds Earth Day and my own personal focus on sustainability. I also find it challenging though, as so much of what I read is negative – climate change, hottest seasons on record, growing toxicity of our oceans and possible death of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia – all bring me to despair and make my heart ache. I feel so powerless, so inadequate and at times so hopeless. And digital world doesn’t help. The stories of environmental degradation are rampant. Lakes drying up in Africa, the strongest hurricanes on record, bee collapse, the list goes on – destructiveness not creativeness is highlighted.
Looking for signs of hope and finding them is not always easy. It needs to be a very intentional action. One that starts with a trust in the God of hope, in the God who is in the process of making all things new.
What gives me hope at this season? Last week I went looking for them and found some very encouraging examples. Churches like our own St Andrews Episcopal here in Seattle that is making a difference with solar power, stories like When I dream of a Planet in Recovery and people like Wendell Berry whose story which has inspired so many of us, and has just been made into a film The Gospel According to Wendell Berry.
What is Your Response?
What gives you hope at this season of your life, not just for yourself but for the whole planet? Take a few moments to look around. Think of the little things in your family, your home, your neighbourhood that give you hope. Take some photos, make a list, give thanks to God.
Now think of our planet. What gives you hope and encourages you to believe that God is not only in control but is slowly making all things new?
On amazing thing that gave me hope this week was the discovery of a huge lake under Antarctica. And on a smaller scale I am given hope by the incredible flower above which bloomed on one of my cacti last week. I have had the plant for 3 years without a bloom. Now the beauty of this plant, once hidden has been fully revealed.
God still has hidden secrets in so many parts of our world and we all have the opportunity to become a part of God’s creative activity. I think this is what we should focus our attention on rather than the negative things that give us despair. Yes we need to know about climate change and environmental degradation, but more as a stimulus for change.
Another amazing thing that gives me hope is the growth of the community garden movement. Several years ago, as this movement started to sweep through our world, I asked the question Is this a move of God? I am more convinced than ever that it is and the creativity that has become such an important part of it is even more a move of God.
It gives me hope because everyone can do something. Little things like planting a few tomato plants in your front garden like a lot of Seattlites do can make a difference. Participating in CSAs or volunteering at your local community garden can be of even greater value. It should give all of us hope that we can make a difference and bring some of God’s newness into this world.
What is your response?
Even airports can make a difference in our world. Watch the video below. In what ways does it inspire you to become a part of God’s creativity and desire for a world made new? What is one step that you could take that would not only inspire hope in yourself but in others as well?