Sometimes we go through the motions. Sometimes we go through the rituals. Sometimes— thankfully—we get jerked from our rhythms sparked by the very irony of what we are saying.
Sharing the Isaiah 55:12 benediction to the Mendocino Presbyterian Church congregation amidst the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018—the largest in California history—I knew our congregation had to respond with action to the intense wildfires devastating our communities. We couldn’t just say the words of the prophet; we had to live into them working for a better world where the “trees of the field shall clap their hands” rather than allowing dense dry fuels to alit because of changing weather patterns and micro-climates.
Sometimes God calls us to make a difference.
In response to our vulnerability in California to wildfire, my community created the “Holy Goats: Your Fire Protection Angels”. Our herd of 30 goats reduces fire propellants, providing a critical tool in enhancing forest health and decreasing threat to lives. The Holy Goats chomp down coyote brush, grasses and even gorse—a thorny invasive brought over to Mendocino by Presbyterian pastors in the 1880’s that has now taken over the landscape creating a overbearing monoculture. Let us all live into the words of the prophet finding our own unique ways to make a difference. Let’s not just say the words of the prophet. Let’s live into them!
Lord Creator, we ask Thee to support us all the day long.
Create in us loving hearts to care for Your creation, adoring the world and all therein. Bless us with the Spirit of Jesus to bless others.
Pastor Matt Davis serves the Mendocino Presbyterian Church located 3.5 hours north of San Francisco on Highway 1.
Holy Goats: Your Fire Prevention Angels can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo of goats by Matt Davis