"Churches will chime in for environmental stewardship by sounding their bells or other instruments 350 times at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The 350 chimes represent the parts per million that many scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," says an article from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the US. It is the most beautiful place on Earth. Mountains, plateaus, valleys, desert, whales, salmon, bears, huge evergreens, fruit trees, tulips, wheat, brooks and rivers everywhere, cougars, moose, elk, otters, seals, and sea lions - life is abundant here. It is a blessing to see the sun paint the sky every hue imaginable as it rises and sets. Everyday offers a new breathtaking scene. But, when I look at God's miraculous, wondrous, powerful world and I see the negative impacts that humankind leaves upon it, my heart breaks. Climate Change is something the authors of the Bible could never have foreseen. The ability for human beings to change the climate of the Earth? For us to kill reefs, create dead zones in the water, make it increasingly difficult for ice to form on the poles, to cut down whole forests? It was unforeseeable and unthinkable.
Today it is observable, but it must become thinkable. I believe that our congregations, as the arms and legs of Christ in the world - the great healer, the redeemer, the prophet, God in sandals - it is our Christian obligation to care for God's creation. Congregations need to start thinking about the planet and all of its inhabitants - all God's creatures, every one - and to take clear and bold steps to call for public policy that values this holy and living organism called Earth. We need to start talking about Climate Change and how we might become a force for healing and wholeness - Shalom. We have the ability. We have the tools necessary. We have everything we need to heal this Earth and all that makes her so wondrous. We are the stewards of God's creation - the creation upon which God's holy eyes looked and delighted, into which God breathed life pronounced it "good."
If your church has a bell tower, ring your bells this Sunday at 3 PM. If you don't have a bell tower, find some other way to "chime in" 350 times to show the world that Christians care, are informed, and are ready to do our part not only for the healing of the nations, but for the healing of the Earth itself.
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