For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
As of today, there are over 45 million confirmed Coronavirus cases globally. This virus has wreaked havoc on us, our economies and exposed many injustices. In addition, the virus is once again spiking as we wrestle with visioning a new path forward. This is a chaotic time. In times like these, words of encouragement and affirmation are needed to build our faith.
This text paints for us the beauty of God’s ecology. By showing us nature’s participation in God’s ecology we see that there is a system at work that is designed to be regenerative. Our society today is designed to be extractive with our natural resources and our relationships. We believe that we are lords over creation instead of participants of it. This text also challenges us to vision a path forward that is regenerative and operates with the ecology.
When I read Isaiah 55:10-11 juxtaposed to Christmas Eve, I am filled with anticipation because it is an announcement that God is participating in my care. God participated in my care through the birth of Jesus the Christ. Christ participates in our care through salvation. God participates in my care through nature and community. Our role in ecology is to maintain God’s ecology by participating in caring for creation also.
Alabama IPL is operating in the new path and inviting others on the journey. Beloved Community Church is the local church that I attend and serve in Birmingham, AL. The church is located in downtown Birmingham on a small lot. There is not a great deal of open space and a great deal of traffic. On this lot, we carved out and maintain a bird sanctuary that Alabama Interfaith Power and Light sponsors. In the middle of the chaos and lack, we carved out space for regenerative relationships in God’s ecology.
God’s created we maintain.
God Our Creator,
We anticipate the newness that you are bringing forward. We commit our energy to caring for creation.
We thank you for renewing our hope.
The Reverend Michael Malcom is the Founder and Executive Director of The People’s Justice Council and Alabama Interfaith Power and Light, and is a licensed and ordained United Church of Christ Minister. He currently serves as the International Liaison for the US Climate Action Network. He considers himself an impassioned environmental justice advocate, and sees environmental justice as the moral obligation to love your neighbor.
Leaf photo by David Kepley