by Rebecca Reyes, M.Div., MSW
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:5)
One of the songs I learned early in my childhood was
“This little light of mine.
I am going to let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.“
This song is simple yet it’s a very clear reminder that our faith is to be active and visible. God’s creation was entrusted to us. As stewards of God’s creation how do we let the LIGHT shine?
Pope Francis has put out the call to the community of faith to care for the earth. He urges us to remember that the air we breathe must be kept clean for all living in the world. Likewise, he urges us to care for our water—in oceans, rivers, lakes, and all sources, knowing how humans, fish, and other beings depend on clean water for health. He makes this call to care for all elements of our earth home a moral challenge.
My undergraduate focus of study was in environmental ecology. I learned about the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment. During college I became involved in the “Don’t Litter” campaign as a way to live out my commitment to keep our roadsides clean. For a summer internship in the Gulf of Mexico I focused on ocean life and the impact of oil pollution on the migration of fish due to offshore drilling. This experience nudged me to pay attention to policies which impact local and global communities.
Whether it is recycling, advocating for clear water, paying attention to policies which impact the destruction of forests, water conservation, or the utilization of national resources, these acts give witness that God’s creation is sacred.
As we light our candles this season of Advent, let us also commit to let our “little light” be an active witness to the care of the earth in our daily life.
A prayer-meditation from my friend, Jim Rigby: RECEIVING THE GIFT OF THIS DAY
Take one breath conscious of the fact the air you breathe has passed through every kind of plant or animal you can imagine. Remember every breath is a gift.
Wiggle your toes if you have them. Remember every part of your body is a gift.
Consider the electricity pulsing invisibly in your brain like a hidden firefly's tail. Remember that your consciousness is a gift.
Before you get lost in the problems and dramas of this day, remember your life is a confluence of countless cosmic elements. Remember this day of life is but an ephemeral kiss shared between ocean, earth and sky.
Rebecca Reyes, M.Div., MSW, lives in Durham, NC. She is parish associate at Church of Reconciliation, as well as facilitator and consultant for non-profits.