Friday, March 16, 2018

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Fifth Sunday Reflection
by Paul Heins

“Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day.”  2 Peter 3:8 CEB

It is often said that we should not lose the forest for the trees. Don’t get mired down in the minutiae, or lost in the details. Focus on the big picture. There is wisdom in that. Retaining a sense of the overall beauty of the forest is key.

But it’s not the whole story.

It’s easy, when we are too focused on the forest as a whole, to lose sight of the beauty of each tree.

For those who are committed to the wholeness of creation, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the size of the forest. We see how far we have to go. We wonder if we will ever be able to make it through. Despair and weariness can seep in. But the forest belongs to the creator, and its final restoration belongs in the divine hands.

Stop from time to time and examine the beauty of each tree along the way: the small steps forward, the brief moments of healing, the experiences of getting something done. When we stop and celebrate each tree, it will occur to us how many of them there are! And that’s a good thing.

Plant a tree. Notice the wonder of a tree that has stood for many years. Protect a tree that is in danger of being pulled down. Each is an important part of the forest.
On the journey toward wholeness, a single day can seem like a thousand years. On the other hand, each day is also filled with a thousand years of wonder and beauty.  May each day fill you with blessing.

Prayer: Loving and Faithful God, on the long journey toward sabbath peace, our legs often grow weary and our vision fails. Empower us to keep the vision of wholeness for all creation before us. Give us the faith to celebrate each moment of wholeness and healing along the way.  Amen. 

Paul Heins’ love for God’s creation has grown on the beaches, woods, mountains, and waters of
California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington where he now pastors a congregation in the town of Port Townsend.  His concern for God’s creation has grown as he has witnessed our growing ecological crisis. He loves working with his congregation, his colleagues, and his neighbors on bringing healing to the environment and on nurturing a healthy relationship with all life.  In his study of environmental ministry, he has discovered the rich resources the Christian faith offers in this work.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Devotional for 4th Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday Reflection
We Might Not Be Perfect, 
But We Can Be Better
by Joy Williams

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

I cannot pretend that I walk with Jesus as closely as I would like for any reader to think. I can say, however, that Jesus is a significant part of why I get up in the morning and try to be a better person than yesterday. I strive, but am not perfect. I have broken relationships all around me, from family, friends, old employers—and as much as I want to say that I am OK with this level of brokenness, I am not. I hurt. One of my favorite bible passages that calls me back into communion with God is Romans 8. There I find that no matter what passes me by, it will be for my good (Romans 8:28). I also find that as I groan for healed relationships in my life, the earth groans for a reconciliation back into God’s perfect order. I can only hope that my choices, although modest and humble compared to those of greater riches, but maybe in excess compared to those of less resources, will both edify others, care for the earth, and bring healing to me. In spite of my personal hardships, the only option is to move forward, that is not the question. The question, rather, is will I move forward with joy. And to that, I say yes. Paul tells us to rejoice, and rejoice always. So as I figure out how to repair the brokenness found in my relationships, in the earth, and in myself, I do so with one choice at a time, starting with God’s love for me, and the redemption that came through the cross.

Prayer: Dear Gracious and Merciful Creator, thank you for loving us even when we don’t love ourselves, each other, or your creation fully. Forgive us, for we know not what we do. Have mercy on us, for we need that too. Give us your grace to realize where we fall short, and give us your Holy Spirit to teach us to move forward. Offer your mighty hand to soften our hearts, so we are willing to humble ourselves and pray.

Joy Williams is a Master of Divinity Student at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC. There she is turning a family home into a living and learning homestead, for herself to serve as a reminder of what it means to live simply, off the land, and striving in harmony with God, the earth, others, and oneself.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Seeking Steering Committee Nominees

Steering Committee Open Positions

Looking for a way to help Presbyterians for Earth Care? One way is to nominate a qualified and responsible person to fill one of our open positions on the Steering Committee – or to nominate yourself!

This year the Vice-Moderator, Midwest Regional Representative, and Northeast Regional Representative are up for election. Regional Representatives connect with PEC members and are expected to live in their regions.

The Steering Committee is an important group because it conducts the business of the organization, determines and reviews purposes and strategies, makes decisions about the organization, sets policy, raises funds for the organization, approves an annual budget and manages the finances. That is why we are asking you to nominate interested and creative persons to fill our open positions by responding to this email and sending us the name of your nominee, contact information, and what gifts this person could bring to the Steering Committee. Please make your nominations by May 31.

The PEC Steering Committee is currently composed of a Moderator, Vice Moderator, Treasurer, and six Regional Representatives. A part-time Coordinator, hired on a contract basis, conducts administrative, communication, fundraising, program, and other tasks as assigned by the Steering Committee. New members will begin their terms in the fall.

On a similar note, PEC is accepting nominations for our annual awards until March 31: the William Gibson Eco-Justice Award, the Emerging Earth Care Leader Award (for 18-30 year olds), and the Restoring Creation Award (for organizations). You may read about the qualifications on our website. PEC members are invited to make a nomination online.  If you aren’t already a member, you can join online.

You are a vital part of Presbyterians for Earth Care and your participation is appreciated.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Devotional for 3rd Sunday of Lent

Third Sunday Reflection
by Dick Gibson

“The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  Psalm 24:1

Praise God for the creation, this day and every day.  Give glory to God who made our garden home.

During this Lenten season, we do not focus on what we can give up, but look for what we can do to be faithful: peacemaking, respecting others, caring for the earth. Give God the glory with your daily routines.

Saving creation takes time. Our Synod pastors had meetings in the late ‘80’s and 90’s to talk about earth care, exploring what we could do. Many were ahead of us. Changing light bulbs, insulating windows and buildings, planting rain gardens, preventing oil and waste in our sewers - little things each one could do to care for our garden home.

Now some thirty years later we are still at it.  We helped to clean a small neighborhood stream so salmon could flourish. We changed our laws to keep tour boats away from the Orcas. Our church and community are forming teams to reduce our carbon footprint with a program called “Taming Bigfoot”.

Jesus was angry with the money-changers and animal sellers in the Temple courtyard. They were not giving glory to God. They had been there for a very long time, but on this day he made them leave, angry, he drove them out. It was a teaching moment. It was setting an example, asking people to focus on God. Jesus planted a seed, showing us how to think about our values and what it means to give God the glory. (John 2:13ff)

So for us, the work and witness to our values goes on, one step each day, persistence pays off as there is less carbon, cleaner streams, more fish, cleaner air. And we keep at it, day after day, year after year. The Earth IS the Lord’s. It is God’s gift to us, to care for in our day, minute-by-minute, year-by-year.

Prayer: Lord God, give us the strength to hold on to our values. Help us to stay steady over many days and years. We praise you for giving us all good things in our garden home.  Guide our steps as we plant one tree, heal one stream, enable one butterfly. Use our hands, feet and voices to proclaim your praise, as we witness for your creation.  
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Rev. Dick Gibson is a retired minister, having served in Oregon and NW Coast Presbytery. Dick has been a member of the GA committees on the Self Development of People, Hunger, Peacemaking, Fossil Free PCUSA and a Hunger and Earth Care Advocate. Dick and his wife, Christine, live in Lynnwood, a suburb of Seattle, and enjoy time with their children and grandchildren when not traveling or watching their carbon footprint!