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!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Devotional for 2nd Sunday of Lent

Second Sunday Reflection
Two by Two in the Midst of Wolves
by Nancy Corson Carter

“After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.’” Luke 10: 1-3

This passage from Luke is included among the events and teachings recorded about Jesus when he has “set his face” to go to Jerusalem. Jesus sends messengers ahead to prepare the way but is met by unwilling villagers and would-be helpers’ excuses.

Then “the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come.” As I read this text, I want to see myself in one of the faithful duos marching out to bring in the Lord’s plentiful harvest. But I know how scary this path may be to travel.

Those wolves may feed upon my own fearfulness and the ways in which I make excuses not to follow Jesus when he calls. In eco-justice terms, the wolves may be polluters, those who claim others’ land and resources as their own (e.g. Doctrine of Discovery usurpers), climate change deniers—all whose acts and intentions desecrate the wonder of God’s creation and impede the harvest of his love.

Why two by two? Common sense suggests numerous reasons: safety, companionship, the multiplied impact of two witnesses to the presence of the kingdom.  In my own ministry, I learn over and over how much, “in the midst of wolves,” I need my faithful friends, my congregation, and groups of kindred spirits like Presbyterians for Earth Care to keep up my courage and my determination.

Prayer:  Holy God, I thank you for so many wonderful partners in ministry in my life—I name them before you. Let me trust that I am not alone, that you are always with me, Emmanuel. Amen.

Nancy Corson Carter, Ph.D., a founding member of the Shalem Society for Contemplative Leadership, leads retreats and workshops in eco-spirituality and literature. She facilitates an Earth Care Committee at the Church of Reconciliation, an accredited PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation in Chapel Hill, NC, and is a publishing writer.