Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 2019
Reflection from the Loretto Earth Network
We read in Acts 2: “When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.” The message of the Holy Spirit reached many parts of the world that day. It reaches us today.
As you reflect on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, select one or more that you want to focus on at this time in your life:
• A spirit of wisdom and understanding
• A spirit of courage and wise judgement
• A spirit of love and compassion
• A spirit of justice and mercy
• A spirit of light and wisdom
• A spirit of peace and forgiveness
• A spirit of trust and caring
Let your caring envelop all people, especially the sick and the dying, those who are grieving, asylum seekers, all migrants, those experiencing injustices of all kinds, the poor, the lonely, all those in pain, all species.
Now consider especially the needs of Earth. What can these gifts of the Holy Spirit offer to Earth in this time of climate crisis?
Excerpt from Sacred Acts: How Churches are Working to Protect Earth’s Climate (MacDuff, 2012)
Diverse faith communities – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – are working to love their neighbors as themselves through sacred acts of justice: installing solar panels on mosques and temples, tilling church gardens, conducting energy audits on low income homes, lobbying against mountaintop removal and supporting reforestation projects in countries from the front lines of climate change. These acts reveal a shared moral mandate to care for Earth, especially since climate change will have a disproportionate impact on the world’s poor.
We may not think it’s politically viable to create public transit, community gardens and renewable energy sources in our landscapes, dominated as they are by Walmart, CVS and Burger King. But faith asks us to imagine a world that does not degrade Earth or harm people. We can bear witness to prophetic voices, not the politics of the practical. Ten years ago, no one could have imagined that a religious environmental organization, Earth ministry, would be the lead organizer for legislation to transition the state of Washington off coal-fired power.
The prophetic becomes possible because faith communities are grounded in place with physical addresses. In Asheville, NC, Oakley United Methodist Church created a church garden to serve its local community. First Congregational United Church of Christ installed 42 solar panels as a public witness in the neighborhood. The church is no stranger to radical acts of justice, rooted in place.
Our challenge reflects the question of Pentecost: How will God’s spirit move in our lives? Pentecost marks the seventh Sunday after Easter – 50 days after the death of Jesus – when the Holy Spirit descended to the disciples. As humans, we may feel threatened by the mystery of The Holy Spirit in our lives today. With climate change, our stability has been interrupted. We face a true Pentecost moment.
In the acts of the apostles, the coming of the Holy Spirit is marked with winds, tremors of Earth, and fire, but people from all nations come together…God’s work of redemption is a mystery, but it happens in a community of people; the Holy Spirit is made incarnate in human experience. We must be ready to become transformed, and in turn, transform our communities. [We] are the testing grounds for conversion. Let us imagine and act together.
How are we as Loretto being called to be a prophetic voice in this time of climate crisis?
Are we ready to be transformed? What can we imagine and then act upon?