This month marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day along with significant holy days for Christians (Easter), Jews (Passover) and Muslims (Ramadan). Amidst this month of spiritual reflection on themes of liberation, new life and contemplation of God, our hearts are stretched by this COVID 19 pandemic to unite us in one worldwide community of love. Innumerable people are suffering close to home and around the world during this crisis. Through this experience, perhaps we are now faced with the immutable fact - we are all connected on this blue-green planet. We are inviting you to use your talents to inspire and motivate those around you with courage. Together we will get through this!
Inspire - to breathe or blow into, spirit-filled, to impart a divine truth or idea
There is so much outside of our control and an uncertain future makes it challenging to know what to do. Lest we become flooded in despair, there is also much cause for hope. The COVID 19 crisis challenges us to find opportunity within it. "We humans are more resilient than we expect ourselves to be" said Roshi Fleet Maull recently during GreenFaith's daily Interfaith Prayer. (See that opportunity, and others, on our list of Spiritual Resources for COVID 19). In her book A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit writes about times throughout our history when great crises affected large numbers of people - e.g. the San Francisco Fire of 1906, Hurricane Katrina and other examples in which great creative collaboration emerged. People rose to the occasion to help one another and find new solutions to their local problems. The vast majority of humanity responded with "their better angels." We at IPC see evidence of that happening now all around us - a wave of new communication methods to gather people together for worship, for training, or community organizing. We want to share with you some opportunities for you to join this "band of angels."
Motivate- to stimulate action
Joanna Macy invokes the idea of "active hope," which is not mere optimism. It's rooting ourselves in a vision of the world we want to see and acting upon that hope. Here are some ideas - what else would you add? Let us know so we can share them with others.
What can you do now?
1. Look at our Menu for Action - what about organizing a "Forming Acton" online? - like a "Watch Party" to educate your Green Team and your congregation members:
- View any of our Learning Lab Recordings to strengthen your Green Team and its actions.
- Choose a film from IPC's Movie & Video List and schedule an online discussion afterwards
- Taking Nature Black Panelists speak out on Environmental Justice
- Offer a book study from our IPC Suggested Reading Book List and schedule an online discussion with others
- Encourage families to go for a walk using our Interfaith Nature Walk Guide
- Share these Earth Day Sermon Ideas with your faith leader
- Use any of IPC’s Resource Materials for Worship, education or reflection
2. Participate in the “Watershed of Hope” Project
- We are inviting you to create a short 30-second to 3-minute long video of yourself sharing something inspirational that is helping you get through these difficult times. It could be a prayer of thanksgiving, a prayer for creation,, a poem, a sacred text, anything! When you have created your video or have questions about making one, please email to Liz Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line “Watershed of Hope”.
We can act with loving courage (cour means heart) to manifest a future world of justice and restored relationship with earth and one another.
The Trappist monk, poet and wise spiritual contemplative, Thomas Merton's words seem so apt for our time: You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.