Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Hymn - We the Lord's People

Hymn sung with cantor and congregation on August 29, 2010 at Washington's National Cathedral. Hymn 52 in the 1982 Hymnal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Action Ideas for Churches

  1. Help your church hold a "Creation Sunday" worship service.

  2. Become a "sister congregation" with a church in a community where toxic waste or pollution threatens the health of the church members.  Take their youth on an annual outdoor adventure.

  3. Hold a "Creation Celebration" and invite your community, campus, or congregation to enjoy the outdoors with you.

  4. Start a Bible study on what the Bible says about the environment.  Consider inviting people outside of the church.

  5. Set up a booth at a local environmental fair or Earth Day event, or plan one for your church.

  6. Get your church to conduct an energy audit and implement improvements.

  7. Adopt a local stream, park, or roadway for cleanup, monitoring, or restoration.

  8. Identify an important environmental issue and visit or write letters to local, state, or national leaders about it.

  9. Start a "Creation Club" for kids in your church. 

  10. Start a library of goods to share in your church.  Some churches have experimented with toy libraries and tool libraries.  Such ministries help us to live more simply and thereby reduce the pressures of materialism on creation.

  11. Volunteer in a city, state or national park.  With advance planning, rangers, park personnel, or foresters can put your church group to work.

  12. Hold a public prayer event with emphasis on creation care, restoration, and stewardship.

  13. Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials in places where shade and beauty are needed at your church.

  14. Organize a church or community garden and encourage gardeners to donate some of the harvest to local homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
Source: The Green Bible

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Actions to be a Deep Green Family

  1. Give Thanks:  Thank God for God's beautiful creation, and ask for help to care for it.

  2. Go Deep: Read what God's Word says about caring for creation and the people who depend on it.

  3. Recycle: Everyone in the family can help.  Recycle paper, cans, bottles, jars, batteries, chemicals, paint.

  4. Get Out:  Spend at least an hour a day outside.  Turn off the TV, computer, and video games and encourage your kids to have more "green time" than "screen time".

  5. Save Energy:  Turn off lights when leaving a room, buy Energy Star appliances, and turn the thermostat down in winter and up in summer.  Use your ceiling fans. 

  6. Do a Home Energy Audit:  Let the kids help do a home energy audit based on your last twelve months of utility bills.  Then get recommendations on how to make your home more energy efficient.

  7. Garden for Wildlife:  Invite creation into your yard by creating a backyard wildlife habitat.

  8. Combine Trips:  Poll the family before heading out in the car to see how trips can be combined.  Keep a list of all your errands in one place, and don't leave until you have several you can do in one trip.

  9. Light the Way to a New Energy Future:  Use compact fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent and save real money, while reducing pollution from power plants.  Recycle your old lamps rather than throw them away.

  10. Measure your Ecological Footprint:  Size up the impact your activities and consumption habits have by taking this quiz.
Source: The Green Bible

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Grieving over the loss of a parent

My mother is dead.  Three weeks and two days.  Her funeral was very sweet – almost joyful.  Sparsely attended, but so many of her friends were waiting on the other side.  Three weeks and two days.  And still it seems a bit unreal.

I am no longer walking under water, but the feeling has not returned to all my limbs.  I am not yet fully present to joy or to sorrow.  There have been no tears, but I did not expect any.  I had done my grieving for many months as I watched her drift away from herself and me.  The few flashes toward the last that reminded us all of who she was seemed fake – staged almost – as if she were saving up little bits here and there to present when the moment seemed right.  I was so taken aback when these moments occurred that I almost did not know what to say.

Three weeks and two days.  Her apartment is not empty yet.  That begins in earnest over the coming weekend – furniture to her niece’s home, to the church and to our home.  Dresser drawers of intimate things to go through and dispose of.  Cabinets of kitchen items to decide to keep or to let go.  The clothes were easy – someone else can surely use them.  But the dishes my father bought for her before the married?  Not so easy even as my cabinets are already overflowing.

Three weeks and two days.  There are thank you notes to be written for memorials, for food, for kind thoughts and helpful deeds.  I have not been able to start these yet even as I know that is rude of me.  My pen is not yet capable of smiling though my heart is beginning to do so.  It is almost amusing to hear myself tell others that I am “fine” in the same tight voice Mother used with me for months when I asked her how she was doing.  Yes, I am my Mother’s daughter in so many ways.

Three weeks and two days.  In the presence of the Lord, singing with the angels and the archangels, surrounded by friends and family, with my Father and all the beautiful cats they so loved while here!  The roses and glads that Daddy grew so beautifully in his garden here, even more splendid in that Garden of unending light.  The fulfillment of all her hopes, prayers, dreams and joys there in her eternal life.  And it seems only an instant to her!

Three weeks and two days.  If my lifetime here is as long as hers, I am two thirds of the way through – only one third left to get it right.  To be my Mother’s daughter in all of the faithful ways that she tried to teach, but with, I hope, more fun, more smiles, more joy. 

Written in one of Mother’s Bibles was the quote from someone famous that she had heard:  When you get ready to die, be sure that is all you have left to do.  I’ll try, Mother, I really will try.  I promise.