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"What is important is to realize that we are a family... and that the reason we are at church is not to be entertained but to worship God, increase our relationship with God, increase our recognition of God’s worth in our lives..."

 

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  Pastor Michael's Musings

 

 

The Lawnmower Clinic and Earth Day

 

Earth Day is April 22nd and began in 1970. When Earth Day was initiated it “achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.” (earthday.org/about/history).  

 

Now, under the current administration, the EPA, which was created to protect human health and the environment, is seriously undermining most of its original intentions. There are questions if in 2018 we’re not worse off in some ways than we were in 1970. The U.S. is scheduled to leave the Paris Climate Accord in 2020, abandoning our participation to mitigate global warming. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan calls into serious questions our commitment to clean water. Flint, MI has had contaminated water since 2014 and although it was returned to “acceptable levels” in early 2017, residents have been warned to only drink bottled water until all lead piping can be replaced in 2020. And the giraffe, has moved one step closer toward extinction according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (iucnredlist.org). The IUCN has 7 levels ranging from “Least Concern” (1) to “Extinct” (7). In 2016, the giraffe moved from “Least Concern” (1) to “Vulnerable” (3).  

 

An increased awareness of how humans negatively affect the planet and animal species and the introduction of Earth Day in 1970, people began to make major changes in their behavior. We all look at water, gas and electricity usage differently. We recognize and monitor the wasting of natural, finite resources. We question the creation and usage of chemicals, toxins, and GMO’s in foods and products: “I’m putting what into my body?” Many of us choose to bike and walk more and drive less for more than just the health benefits of our bodies – it’s also because of the health benefits to the earth. 

 

Earth Day will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. Hopefully, we can be the voices that support progress towards more environmental protections and stop any reversals that loom on the horizon. We already contribute mightily through our Lawnmower Clinic. Yes, the clinic is a fundraiser and a public service, but it is also an environmental spearhead. The work we do on lawnmowers helps to alleviate pollution and recycle used oil.

 

I’ve been trying to limit my usage of single-use plastics, particularly straws. Straws are a one-use plastic item that contribute overwhelmingly to the plastic waste in landfills and our oceans. Read about the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” which is twice the size of Texas (Newsweek, 3/22/18). I’ve purchased several re-usable hard plastic and metal straws which I keep at church, home and in my car. It's a small step. 

 

God gave humanity responsibility for caring for the earth and its inhabitants (Gen 1:26-28, Gen 2:15, Exod 35:33-34). How else do we and can we individually and collectively contribute toward the protection of our earth, humanity and all species as good Christian stewards?

 

 

Pastor Greg’s Gandering     

 

 

What does that mean?

 

What does Jesus’ resurrection mean for you? A free ride to heaven?  A guilt free opportunity to eat ham? Proof of an afterlife? To his closest friends it was evidence that he truly was divine and that what he revealed to them in his days with them was in fact God’s truth.   His resurrection was proof that caring for those in need, loving others, focusing on relationships rather than on things, healing the sick, and not excluding anyone from God’s love was the way, the truth and the life that we should all be living.

 

But it was also proof that one of the ways you do this, as he did, was to call out and oppose the evil forces in the world that oppose the way and the truth and the life Jesus revealed.  Of course, doing that might not be good for your physical health.  Jesus was killed by the those in power. Rev. Bonhoeffer was killed by the Nazis. Rev. MLK was killed by the racists.  Bishop Oscar Romero was killed by U.S. backed right wing militias, the list goes on.

 

Following Jesus in such a manner may not be good for your physical health, but is good for your spiritual health, at least that is what the resurrection shows us.  Jesus refused to be bullied or to let others be bullied. But the hardest part must have been loving the bullies.   If we are all somehow “saved,” by Jesus death then I think that possibly the moment of salvation was when Jesus prayed, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”  In our ignorance, not knowing what we are doing, we are all forgiven. Jesus resurrection was proof of that too. If we have been saved by that forgiveness, we have not been saved from anything; we have been saved to --- love one another.

 

So, if you believe in the resurrection, then live a life of salvation, live the life you have been saved to live.

 

Pastor Greg

 

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