Saturday, October 9, 2010

10/10/10 and Gratitude

Tomorrow is the day when people all around the world will participate in work parties to show our common concern that we get to work on solving the problem of climate change. This week Episcopal News Service described the plans of several parishes around the nation for this day under the headline Episcopalians join 10/10/10 global work parties. 

As of 5:00 Central time today, reports that 7189 events are planned in a total of 188 countries. Events are planned in every state in the United States and in every province and territory of Canada. In our diocese, Young Adult Episcopalians and Green Sprouts are ready for WDWT, our Walking, De-Trashing, Worshiping, and Talking Celebration , which begins at 2:00 at Lake Hastings on the north side of Hastings.  People in Omaha and Lincoln who don’t want to travel west can find multiple events from which to choose by searching’s 10/10/10 site  .

Tomorrow’s Gospel reading, Luke 17:11-19, reminds us that it’s important to be grateful for the gifts God gives us. Part of the WDWT event will offer an opportunity to notice the gifts around us and to give thanks for them. People participating in other events might want to do the same as we work outdoors tomorrow. And if you can’t participate in any of the planned 10/10/10 work parties, prayers of both petition and thanksgiving for the earth would be a good way to be part of the day. 


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WDWT on 10.10.10

Walking, De-Trashing, Worshiping, and Talking Celebration

Young Adult Episcopalians in Nebraska and the Green Sprouts environmental stewardship group are working together for a healthy and sustainable environment this Sunday. Sunday’s date is 10.10.10. Several environmental groups, with in the lead, have designated 10.10.10 as a Global Work Party day. The idea is for people at the grassroots level around the world to get to work on the environment, hoping that the sight of thousands of grassroots work parties will inspire people in power to put more effort into working for a sustainable environment. As of yesterday evening, there were 6391 events planned in 187 countries. 

We plan to meet at Lake Hastings (on the north side of Hastings) at 2:00. Trash bags will be on hand, as will work gloves if you don’t have your own. From Lake Hastings, we will walk in small groups, picking up trash and also observing some things around us. When we come back together, we will have some time for worship and reflection, then share some snacks and conversation.

For folks in the eastern part of the diocese who can’t get to Hastings in the afternoon, the website can give you details of several events in Lincoln and Omaha.

Details about WDWT are available on this page of the website, or on event pages on Facebook created by Young Adult Episcopalians in Nebraska  or Green Sprouts.

Monday, October 4, 2010

St. Francis: Joy and Compassion

St. Francis found joy in all of creation, and this St. Francis Day in Nebraska is the sort of beautiful October day that makes it easy to rejoice in creation along with Francis. Nights are cold and crisp, while clear blue skies bring the sun's warmth during the day. I’ve seen humans and other animals basking in the sun, catching all the warmth we can before cooler days set in.

Several parishes have a tradition of blessing the animals – dogs, cats, hamsters, and sometimes more exotic creatures -- either at a separate service today or during Sunday services. We enjoy stories about St. Francis and the animals, and appreciate the reminder that God loves our animal companions just as we do. Francis loved not only the animals, though, but all of creation. Perhaps we should bless our chrysanthemums and cottonwood trees and our rocks and roses along with the animals.

Francis expressed this joy in his Canticle of Creation, sometimes known as the Canticle of Brother Sun. We Episcopalians know this canticle as Hymns 406 and 407, “Most High, omnipotent, good Lord”.

Joy in creation is one strand of the life of St. Francis. An equally strong strand is his teaching of compassion for the poor. The Old Testament reading appointed for the Feast of St. Francis, Jeremiah 22:13-16, is about humility. It reminds us that God is more interested in justice and righteousness, in how we treat the poor and needy, than whether we are able to have luxurious homes. The two strands are easily intertwined, as finding joy in the everyday wonders of creation opens our hearts to compassion for all creatures, including our sisters and brothers in the human family.

Joy in God’s creation and compassion for the poor are two elements of environmental stewardship. We work for a sustainable environment because we know the poorest people in the world usually suffer first and worst from any sort of pollution or climate change, but we also work for a sustainable environment so that we can preserve those animals and plants and places through which we encounter God in God’s creation.

Blessed St. Francis Day! Enjoy the beauty of creation and the sunshine!