Proper 20 Year B

Scriptural Wisdom Makes Ecological Sense, by Patricia Tull

Excerpt: Wisdom rules the September lectionary. Several weeks of Proverbs and James sets the mind on virtues like diligence, discernment, foresight, generosity, humility, justice, peacemaking, and self-control. From wisdom’s frame we may easily find in the month’s other passages insight for prosperity in God’s realm.

What do these traditional virtues have to do with creation care? Every folly scriptural wisdom decries contributes in some way to ecological devastation. And each virtue Scripture teaches is an ingredient for healthy creation care.

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Welcoming Children into God’s Creation: 4 Things You Can Do Now, by Leah D. Schade

Excerpt: As a person committed to caring for children and God’s Creation, I invite you to put your faith into action by doing four things.

One – Take your children outside and help them fall in love with God’s Creation.

Plant seeds and trees.  Play in the cold brook waters.  Take a magnifying glass to a square foot of the lawn to see what lives there.  Help them understand that they are connected with God’s Creation, and that God’s Creation is part of their family.  Richard Louv has a great list of activities for getting kids into nature (click here).  And as a reader recently reminded me, God’s Creation is found everywhere – not just in farmlands, forests, and suburban settings.  Urban areas should not be ignored or their green spaces such as parks and grassy lots overlooked.

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by Keith Innes

James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a: Covetousness  and greed cause conflict (4:1-3); we now know that they also devastate the earth. Frugality and consideration mark the good person’s life.

Did God not make creation for the common good? by Tom Mundahl

Excerpt: One of the barriers to taking the notion of “the commons” seriously was removed in 2009 when Elinor Ostrom of the University of Indiana became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics. It had been assumed that Garret Hardin’s 1968 essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons” (Science, December 13, 1968, pp. 1243-1248), had established once and for all that in the contemporary world, any notions of an economic commons could not work, for shared land would inevitably be degraded. By her research in the sharing of grazing land by Swiss farmers with rules dating back to 1517, as well as work in Kenya, Nepal, Turkey, and even Los Angeles, Ostrom discovered a nearly forgotten, but rich vein of cooperation that has never disappeared (Jay Walljasper, ed., All That We Share: A Field Guide to  the Commons, New York:  New Press, 2010, p. 23).

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Reflection on James, by the Rev. Tom Harries

A well-known saying of Mahatma Gandhi is that “there is enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

The competition for material goods which are perceived to be in too short supply leads inevitably to conflict. A good life, however, marked by adequate material possessions and enriched by meaningful contributions to the common good and warm loving relationships is sustainable for all of humanity.

Reflection on Psalm 54, by the Rev. Dcn Helen B. Hanten

Indeed, it is God who sustains all life with an intricate web of living things, and a delicate balance of both biotic and abiotic factors in ecosystems. It is up to us to love and protect this gift of life on our planet and  to proclaim that the creation itself is a window to God’s goodness.