Liturgy is more than “the work of the people.” Rather than being primarily our action, liturgy can be a structure that expresses the limits of what we understand about God, into which we pray that God will send the divine energies to take us beyond the structures of liturgy, beyond the limits of our imagination, into the transformation of life.
We adjust liturgy, shape liturgy, create liturgy in order to express the intimations of the reality of God that we receive by reading the Books of Scripture and of Nature.
Since Lynn White’s explosive article, The Historical Roots of our Ecological Christ, which pinned the current sorry state of relations on our neglect of our home, we have learned more and more about what our responsibility to the Earth is. The essential point is that we and our Earth home are inextricably bound together and the dislocations and destruction that attend climate change have made this clearer to us — this is what is meant by reading the Book of Nature.
The insights we are gaining through living in the midst of this momentous change in the planet have caused us to read our scriptures in new ways, or renewed ways. We are seeing the interconnectivity between humanity and the Earth that is the background of the biblical narratives. We see that the Earth and all its creatures are related to God themselves, that it is not just humanity that relates to God. So, once again the Book of Scripture is illuminating a new path for us.
For several years I have inserted a little phrase into the Baptismal Covenant because I believe that it expresses an emerging understanding of God and the world God made and sustains. In the last question of the Baptismal Covenant, this is what I ask: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of the Earth and of every human being?”
Now we are taking another step, creating a bigger liturgical container for our ecological awareness to be transformed by God’s action. The May 10, 2014 General Confirmation will be our first-ever Eco-Confirmation. It will be held at St. Dorothy’s Rest, in West Sonoma County at 9:30 AM, just before the Woods to Waves St. Dorothy’s fundraiser, which supports the amazing hospital camps at St. Dorothy’s every summer.
This is a great opportunity for those who wish to be confirmed or received who feel that making the broader commitment to seek justice and peace and offer the gift of respect to all of creation, not only to the human race.
It is also particularly apt as a moment when all of you who are already devoting yourselves to earth care and eco-justice might reaffirm your baptismal vows. I particularly encourage all of you in congregations doing incredibly important and committed work in environmental ministries to come on May 10 and reaffirm you baptismal promises in a new and larger context.