“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by people.” Acts 17.24
A Word of Hope
Today is Earth Day. The first Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, from an idea that had started seven years earlier when Senator Nelson persuaded President Kennedy to take a five-day, eleven-state conservation tour. Kennedy motivated the people of America to be concerned about their planet, but, not surprisingly, Congress did nothing but debate about it.
Senator Nelson would not give up, however, and six years later, inspired by the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations on college campuses across the nation, he developed a more evolved plan. He recalled, “Suddenly, the idea occurred to me – why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?” At a September 1969 conference in Seattle, after concentrated organizing, he announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment.
The New York Times wrote: “The response was electric. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air – and they did so with spectacular exuberance.” By April 22, twenty million demonstrators in thousands of schools and local communities had organized local Earth Day events. Senator Nelson concluded, “That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”
Today, with many of our top government officials denying the existence of massive global environmental emergencies, the future of our planet is in the hands of grassroots organizations more than ever. Like Senator Nelson, they will not give up. Throughout the world, concerned members of churches in over 200 countries have joined the movement by establishing and sustaining green congregations. Cathedral of Hope, UCC, is one of those churches.
Our Order of St. Francis and St. Clare researches and offers Greening Tips, not just for Earth Day, but for every Sunday in the Church Weekly. Many of our members and staff are aggressively involved in multiple programs that seek justice for God’s planet. While our politicians continue to debate and do nothing, these justice seekers have made the Earth Day movement stronger than ever. We must never forget what God brings to fruition when we put our faith into action.
O God, who made the whole earth and everything in it, may you continue to inspire us to love our planet as we love ourselves. AMEN
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare