Thursday, December 19, 2019

Fourth Sunday of Advent Devotional

The Lord loves seeing justice on the earth. 
Anywhere and everywhere you can find his faithful,
unfailing love! Psalm 33:5 (The Passion Translation)

Mālama ‘Āina (Love Sustains Life) 

Where I live, it’s easy to be in love with nature. I often spend time on the mountains and in the ocean and think about how in love I am with Earth—how it looks, how it feels, how it sustains me and those I care about. But do I really love the earth?

Heart at Kaena Point Oahu, HI
Living in Hawai‘i, we learn the importance of mālama ‘āina, a traditional Hawaiian value meaning to care for the land so it can care for you. Like many native peoples, Native Hawaiians recognize the connection they have to their environment and live accordingly. Hawaiian spirituality experiences the divine in plants and animals, lava and ocean, in all of creation around us. In this sense, God is truly everywhere and in everything. By being in touch with nature, we are in touch with God. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the lessons nature can teach us. Sunrises remind me that darkness does not last forever. Rainbows show me the beauty that can be reflected through the rain. Science has proven that trees support one another’s growth by sharing resources when in need. Nature has wisdom to teach and valuable information to share with those paying attention. God is speaking through rising oceans, warming climates, burning forests, dying species, displaced people. How will we respond? 

I’m amazed at how often ‘love’ is a valid solution to even the world’s greatest problems. When we realize that we are a part of nature just as much as plants and animals, we understand that harmony with the earth includes harmony with one another. We were created with the ability to love because it is essential to sustaining life. 

God whose spirit is present in nature around us and whose essence is love, remind us of our connectedness to all living things and that our well-being rests in the condition of the environment we care for. Help us to birth love into the world for all of creation, now and long after the season of Advent and Christmas is over. Amen.

Kristen Young was born and raised on the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i where she currently works as the Youth Director at Central Union Church and the Social Media Coordinator for the Hawai‘i Conference United Church of Christ. She is a former PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer and Eco-Stewards alumnus and has recently taken a stride in her “eco-faith journey” by joining the leadership team of The Eco- Stewards Program. Her favorite pastimes include hiking, spending time in the water, singing, and capturing moments through whatever camera’s on hand.

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