We Episcopalians know how take on Lenten disciplines. I know several people who say their favorite season of the liturgical year is Lent. Despite Easter and Christmas being thought of as the more joyous seasons, these folks find a deeper sort of happiness in the disciplines of Lent. We don’t associate Pentecost with any special sort of discipline, but maybe we could more fully understand the meaning of this important day in the liturgical cycle if we had a Pentecost discipline of some sort. This week’s EPPN action alert led me to speculate on advocacy as a Pentecost discipline.
In today’s Gospel for Pentecost Sunday Jesus says that God will send another Advocate to be with Jesus’ followers. This Advocate is “the Spirit of truth”. This suggests that if we are empowered by the Spirit, we must be empowered to be truth-tellers. Furthermore, if the Spirit is an Advocate as Christ has been an Advocate for us, then advocacy on behalf of others would seem to be one piece of what it means to follow Christ and live in the Spirit.
Both of these closely-related aspects of discipleship -- truth-telling and advocacy -- were reflected in a resolution passed at General Convention last summer. Resolution D014 directs diocesan environmental commissions or committees to “educate congregations about public environmental decisions that adversely affect the lives and health of the most vulnerable in our society”. Since climate change tends to affect the poorest people in the world first and worst, public decisions that will have an effect on carbon emissions would be part of this. Education about environmental issues like climate change and pollution involves truth-telling; sometimes those truths are not easily heard and so not easily told, but we are empowered by the Spirit of truth.
SR 26 would prevent the EPA from using its authority under the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Episcopal Public Policy Network has issued an alert asking us to contact our senators to “Tell Congress – Let the EPA do its job!” The Episcopal News Service story about this alert cites Resolution D014 in its explanation of the action alert and explains more of the rationale for this call to action. Click here to go directly to the action alert page and find out how to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable people in our world and, in the end, on behalf of all of us as we address the issues involved with climate change and pollution.
Take on a Pentecost discipline; go into the world and be an advocate!