April 2018 newsletter: Earth Day – Birth and Brokenness

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
   the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
Psalm 98:7-8

Most celebrations of Earth Day tend toward the practical, or a simple celebration of the birth of our finall-visible spring, but the widespread celebration of Earth Day is in fact rooted in the conversation between awe and grief.

Awe inspired by the 1972 image of blue marble from Apollo 17 and collective grief came with the publication of Pennsylvanian Rachel Carson’s 1968 book Silent Spring, which engaged imagination to move readers to feel the deep grief of a future foretold by then-current action and inaction.

As faith communities, on Earth Day we are called to hold these things together —this awe and this grief— for without one, the other cannot be.  If we did not love our Common Home and our neighbors, there would be no call for lament, and no need for action.  But we do.

And so for us, Earth Day is not one-off birthday celebration, but rather can be a day to celebrate and commit ourselves to work —practical and joyful work, and prayerful and grief-tender work— with and for one another throughout the year.  Some work we may take on as practical necessity, some we may take on as spiritual discipline, as a way of finding our way back into right relationship with neighbor and squirrel, stream and Source.

On this Earth day, let us seek, reveal, and feel connection with the earth and all who dwell therein.  May we continue in determined and active hope.

Celebrate Earth Day with your faith community!

Earth Day is on Sunday, April 22, 2018.
Read on for resources, and a really important poem.

Resources to use on Earth Day or any day.
Explore these resources to connect environmental themes to your congregation’s gathering:


Many of you are connected, directly or indirectly to the April 13 We Choose A Better Path event  in Harrisburg.

In honor of this event, we will end with a powerful poem by Pennsylvania docupoet Julia Spicher Kasdorf.  For more from her, including explorations of faith, bookmark this written interview to read with time to reflect.

But first, the poem:

“A Mother on the West Virginia Line Considers the Public Health”
The industry thinks I’m too dumb to back down; they don’t know
I do this for my Mom and Dad. They were 69 and 71.
He had pulmonary fibrosis, worked with asbestos all his life. She grew up
near the coke ovens back when kids were sent into the mines to pick coal.
So they both had lung problems, but their home, the next hollow over,
sits 350 feet from a compressor station. We sealed the house,
set up an air scrubber, but—four of their neighbors passed last year, too.
*
We bought the coal rights to our 115 acres because we know
the company will come up to your front door, but we let the gas go,
just didn’t see this coming. A gentleman from New Jersey leased our land.
One day we come home to find pink ribbons tied in the field. Then bulldozers.
They put in four shallow wells and a Marcellus well on a 5-acre pad

Continue reading where the poem is printed in full with permission

Share your experiences, projects, and reflections with us.

In both awe and lament,