Friday, March 17, 2017

Praying the Earth's News: March 17, 2017

Americans have many justice issues before us that call people of faith to prayer and action. We may be tempted to ignore what is unfolding with regards to the climate and environment and focus our attention instead on issues that seem at least slightly more manageable and more immediate. Yet even as we struggle to understand environmental issues and how best to fit meaningful action on climate and pollution with the other issues calling for our attention, our prayers for situations that seem beyond our abilities of comprehension and action can help us to find wisdom and see how best to act.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect For the Conservation of Natural Resources (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 827)

Please pray for:

Coral reefs, especially the Great Barrier Reef. Bleaching has hit large sections of the Great Barrier Reef for the second year in a row. Global warming means warmer ocean temperatures, and when the oceans get too warm, bleaching occurs. Scientists now consider large sections of the reef dead

People and other living things dealing with extreme air pollution. Changes in weather patterns caused by Arctic warming have been found to contribute to stagnant air that exacerbates air pollution. Since greenhouse gases cause global warming which is now changing weather patterns, addressing extreme pollution events requires a reduction in greenhouse gases as well as a reduction in other air pollutants.

The will to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide levels rose sharply for the second year in a row, making the two year increase in greenhouse gases between 2015 and 2017 “unprecedented” in the Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric  Observatory’s 59 year records. Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas. 

Environmental justice advocates. Last week’s Native Nations Rise march in Washington, D.C. continued the effort to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline from being completed on a route that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe says threatens its drinking water and crosses sacred lands. A Peoples Climate March is being planned for April 29 to bring attention to the connections between climate change and other justice issues. 

As we pray for others, we might also pray for our own hearts to be open so we can see the needs in the world around us and gladly respond to those needs:

O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Joy in God’s Creation (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 814)