Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eco-Palms for Episcopalians

With Palm Sunday only four weeks away, Eco-Palms are in the news again. Episcopal News Service published a piece Wave sacramental eco-palms this Palm Sunday by Michael Schut, the environmental and economic affairs officer for the Episcopal Church.

The February 20 Green Sprouts post about Eco-Palms talked about the benefits of using Eco-Palms for Palm Sunday instead of palms harvested in other ways. The way they are harvested is not only environmentally sustainable, but it results in better pay for the workers. And as that post reported, we found last year at St. Stephen’s that these palms enhanced our liturgy.

In today’s ENS piece , Michael Schut writes:

And know that there are real people, real forests behind those fronds. Know that there are real communities benefiting from your purchase of Eco-Palms. Kattie Sumerfeld works for Lutheran World Relief and recently visited some of those communities. She wrote when she returned of Eliasin Visente Gonzales who told her that "Eco-Palms allow him to buy shoes and clothes for his seven children;" and she described hearing from the town council that "their kids actually stay in the communities instead of migrating to the U.S. for work."

Our choice of palms for Palm Sunday is one more place where the best choice for the environment is also the best choice for economic justice and stability for communities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reading Paul in Early Spring

An Observation

Today’s warmer temperatures in central Nebraska made it possible to sit outside on our porch this morning to read the Daily Office lessons. The warm and humid air smelled and felt like spring, and songs from a variety of birds sounded like spring.

It was a good setting for today’s Epistle lesson, Romans 1:16-24. In this letter to the Romans, Paul states that knowledge about God is available to everyone: “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” (Romans 1:20) God isn’t visible to us, but the world is there for us to see and experience. Paul is saying that thinking about the order and wonder of the world that we can experience through our senses can help us understand something about God’s divine nature and power; we can reason from what we can know through sense experience to some knowledge of God.

On a fine spring morning, I’m inclined to agree with Paul.