This morning as I sipped my second cup of coffee I found myself thinking of the activities of the past few days: The Climate Strike on Friday, our gatherings on Sunday with lively music and thought provoking conversation about death, news that work would begin on reducing our carbon footprint at the Sackville Church and apple picking with the family on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. And then, what should arrive in my mailbox but a declaration by Indigenous and Faith Leaders that Eric Tusz-King was a part of crafting: Indigenous and Faith Leaders A Pugwash Declaration. It begins with these words:
Earth and all of Creation is Sacred and at risk. We are all children of the Earth – made of Earth, Water and Air. Our very existence is in question. We live, grow, play, work, wash, cook, drink, rest, pray and celebrate with Earth, Water and Air. What we do to the Earth, Water and Air we do to ourselves.
I grew up picking fruits and vegetables. Sunday afternoon picking apples took me back to childhood memories. Growing up on a small farm, I picked beans, weeded tomatoes and help can pears, peaches and apples. And, I was used to reusing and recycling long before those words became a catch phrase. It was a way of life. It seemed dad could always fix one car with used parts from another. Nothing ever got thrown out. I’m sure we could have build a snowmobile from the parts we had lying around! We grew vegetables to sell at the roadside and raised chickens that we sold to friends and family. Mom made the most of a large garden, filling the freezers to the brim and canning jar upon jar of fruit and pickles.
I can’t say that I’ve managed to live as simply since. I throw far too much stuff away and buy way too many new things. The temptations are great. The options are even greater. As good as my intentions, it is so easy to get caught up in the whole world of materialism. It reminds me of how privileged a life I lead that I can actually make a choice to live simply. Many around the world do not have that choice.
Greta Thunberg’s words to the United Nation’s were like a kick in the gut,
How dare you?” “People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” Thunberg said. “How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight?”
How dare we continue living as if there were nothing to lose? How dare we continue living as if our actions made no difference to the climate, to people in other countries, and to future generations?
As my colleague Susan Lukey said,
I realize now it isn’t always as simple as I wanted to believe as a teenager when I put the words, “Live simply so that others may simply live,” on a banner. It’s not simple, but we must take Greta Thunberg’s words to heart. We must hear her declare, “How dare you?” and see the tears in her eyes. It isn’t simple, but it is possible!
Failure to act will result in not only our death but the death of an entire planet!
It is time to listen. We must hear the fear of the youth that mobilized so many on Friday past. We must hear the anxiety of those who fear for their job, wondering how they will support their families. To truly listen is to listen for the roots of commonality – which is fear – and to that fear we must proclaim the hope that comes in working together.
Twenty-one days from today we will go to the polls. Might you consider putting your mark beside the name and party that you believe can see many points of view, that listens first and seeks to build bridges between folk of different viewpoints and is ready to work toward consensus for the greater good of the planet and its creatures.
“Live simply so that others may simply live,” said Gandhi. No, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Hard work is never simple – but the wisdom is deep. While living simply has a lot to do with reducing material goods, the place I want to start today is in listening, simply listening, with care and compassion to neighbours and friends, to people in this community and around the world. Simply listening to their viewpoints, even the viewpoints of those I might consider enemies, for that’s what Jesus asked of us, commanded us. “Love your enemies; welcome the stranger,” he said. That, too, is wisdom for our time.
May it be so,
Today I am working from home beginning to pull together the elements for our World Wide Communion services on Sunday at 9AM and 11AM and the Blessing of the Animals Service at Bill Johnstone Memorial Park at 1PM – after I finish writing this and go to help others at the Church remove window coverings in preparation for the replacement of the windows that will begin tomorrow.
Tuesday will see me in the office bright and early to open to door for the contractors and prepare for our Weekly Lectionary Bible Study which begins at 10AM. The Seniors Wellness Fair will be moving ahead but we are looking to change the venue to St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Watch for more information later today. In the afternoon I’m off to Moncton for meetings and hospital visits.
On Wednesday I will be doing some visits at the Drew and taking part in a meeting of the Pastoral Care Committee. I’ll be in the office for the afternoon after which I will participate in the Refugee Welcome Team meeting.
Thursday will be a work from home day as I craft a sermon for Sunday and do any last minute work on the three liturgies for the day!
Friday and Saturdays will be days off and we are looking forward to have a couple of house guests overnight Friday: one human and one canine!
Sunday will be a full day: 9AM at Upper Sackville United Church, 11AM at Sackville United Church, 1PM at Bill Johnstone Memorial Park for a Blessing of the Animals and 3PM for a service at the Drew Nursing Home with the residents there.