And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flows out of Eden to water the garden…. The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep.
Genesis 2:8-10, 15
Oh God, this scripture reminds us that you first created Eden and then man, because humankind cannot exist without the blessings of your sacred Creation. Father, we ask you to instill in us the understanding that we are called to keep your garden; the trees, the fish, every creeping thing, and your blessed rivers of water. Grant us the wisdom to cultivate your garden for the good of all, so that your children and all living things may receive nourishment from the bounty of your Creation. AMEN
As Christians, our two greatest commandments are to love our God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors. Most of us do adhere to the first commandment, but often struggle with the second. This struggle often arises because we tend to see through our human eyes and look for things that make us different from one another, rather than values that unite humankind.
As people of faith, however, we are armed with prayer, scripture, and the discernment to see each other not as strangers but as children of God, as part of Creation, as one people, sharing this one sacred earth. Through our eyes of faith, we may see the light of God burning brightly within each one of us, and in turn find the inspiration to seek out meaningful ways to turn our love into action.
This Earth Day, the Wyoming Association of Churches (WAC) asks you to love your neighbor through acts of stewardship to “keep” the sacred gifts of Creation-water, air, and food for the good of one another and all living things. We put together the following list of stewardship acts and facts to help you and your congregation fulfill our responsibility to serve as stewards of Creation on Earth Day and every day! By the way, this list stems from WAC’s 2014 One People, One Earth annual meeting, when the entire audience took a pledge to increase kind and respectful acts to people and our planet by 30%.
- Americans comprise 5% of the world’s population but consume 25% of the world’s natural resources. Watch the excellent Story of Stuff video to learn more about America’s unsustainable consumption habit at storyofstuff.com/
- Conduct a Waste Audit to measure and visualize just how much waste your congregation generates. Green Faith offers the following waste audit tool kit atwww.greenfaith.org/resource-center/stewardship/wastereduction-and-recycling/waste-audits/waste-audits/
- To learn about renewable energy and tax incentives in Wyoming, visitwww.wyomingrenewables.org
- Visit Energy Star for Congregations to help your congregation save money through energy efficiency at www.energystar.gov/buildings/sector-specific-resources/congregation-resources
- The impacts of climate change fall heaviest on the poor and vulnerable. To learn more, visit Catholic Climate Covenant atwww.catholicsandclimatechange.org/
- Globally, the year 2014 was the warmest year on record since records began in 1880. Visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration atwww.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/13
- Create a church garden! Download this church garden toolkit from A ROCHA USA at arocha.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/GardenManual.pdf. To learn more about gardening in Wyoming visit, www.uwyo.edu/uwe/ andwww.wyomingfoodforthoughtproject.org
- For more faithful stewardship ideas, visit these national faith based organizations www.greenfaith.org www.interfaithpowerandlight.org andwww.creationjustice.org
- Spread goodwill by seeking ways to live the second commandment! Give an elderly member a ride to church, smile at strangers, open the door for others, wish people you pass by on the street a “good day.”
- Known as phantom energy, appliances and electronics draw energy even when they are not in use. For example, your cell phone charger is drawing energy even when it is not plugged into your phone. For tips to reduce phantom energy, visitwww.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver
- A typical carrot travels 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table! Support local farmers and make an effort to buy food that is in season. Visitwww.wyomingfarmersmarkets.org/ to find a farmers market in your area.
- Many cleaning products contain chemicals that are bad for your health and our environment. Clean safely by making your own green cleaners. Follow this simple recipe for an all-purpose cleaner: 4 cups warm water – 2 Tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice – 1 teaspoon baking soda – 2 Tablespoons of natural liquid soap (such as Dr. Bronnor’s orange scented) -10 drops of essential oil (Lavender, Pine or Tea Tree)- optional, but helps disinfect and adds a nice smell. Mix water, vinegar and baking soda first, then add the soap and essential oil.
- Nearly 70% of commercial fishing grounds are depleted or recovering from overfishing (Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization). Before ordering seafood, reach for your Seafood Watch pocket guide: www.seafoodwatch.orgwhich will give you the ‘red’ or ‘green’ light when deciding what to choose. !Turn your thermostat down 3 degrees this week and save nearly 2000 lbs of CO2/year!Read Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter’s book Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice!
PLEASE share your Faithful Earth Day story with Chesie Lee, WAC Executive Director, via e-mail at email@example.com
Fear not! Be bold! Build relationships! Do justice!
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