May 2019


Dear Friends,

I love the soft green leaves of spring almost as much as the bright colors of autumn. They represent not quite resurrection, for the trees have not died, but renewal. A rebirth most welcome after a particularly snowy winter. As life rebounds we are reminded to give thanks to God who is the creator of the whole beautiful world. Praise God for giving us life and all that we need to sustain it!

The other day I went to a send off party for one of the Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light staff, who is moving to a new job on a permaculture farm in Colorado. One thing I most appreciate about Erin is her embodiment of a vision for life in better harmony with the rest of God's creation. Sometimes the work of protecting and nurturing our brother creatures and sister plants can seem like a huge struggle. Erin has a way of approaching the work that makes it feel instead like a gracious movement toward a more enjoyable way of life.

In order to stay with a long term work we need two Christian virtues: faith and hope. Faith that God is with us on the journey. Hope that we can find ways to live sustainably and joyfully within the bounds of "this fragile earth, our island home."[1] Fear is only a good motivator in the short term. For the long term we need faith that we can move graciously toward a more harmonious life. Jesus expressed this vision in his call to love our neighbors as our selves, and even seek to love our enemies. The apostle Paul spoke of it through the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ, in which each part is essential. Now in our time we extend their teachings to include the whole of God's, bountiful creation.

Now in our time we can begin living as if the reign of God were truly at hand in our world. We acknowledge that the condensed energy in fossil fuels has brought us many good things during it's years. But now we see that their use is causing much damage as well. It's time for us to move on to new, healthier ways of powering our homes, cars, and industries.

Many people across many areas of human activity are already developing new ways of doing things that, if broadly practiced, would bring us into better harmony and enrich our lives at the same time. Many of those judged to be most effective are detailed in the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken.

All three persons of the Holy Trinity were fully involved in the creation of the world. We honor them as well as helping ourselves when we care well for this glorious gift.

Cordially,

The Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Harries


[1] 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Eucharistic prayer C