Earth Hour – 24th March 2018

Earth Hour is the single largest symbolic mass participation event in the world. Born of the hope that people could be mobilized to take action on climate change, Earth Hour now inspires a global community of millions of people in 7001 cities and towns across 178 countries to switch off lights for an hour. The event recognizes our global responsibility for the climate change which is already devastating lives and threatening the future of the planet. Now in its 11th year, Earth Hour 2018 takes place on SATURDAY MARCH 24TH 8.30-9.30 pm.  Our actions today can change our tomorrows. We love and care about our beautiful, fragile planet – “our common home”.

A reflection by Nancy Schreck, OSF:
Alice Walker, once asked, “Is there anything more painful than realizing we did not know the right questions to ask at the only time on earth we would have the opportunity to do so?” There are new questions for our time such as how do we and ought we think about God and the world, and about ourselves in relation to God and the world?

Or the question posed by Sallie McFague, “What if we dared to think of our planet as the body of God? God, not transcendent over the universe in the sense of external to, or apart from it, but as the source, power and goal; the spirit that enlivens and loves the entire process and its material forms. God the inspirited body of the entire universe, the animating, living spirit that produces guides, and saves all that is. What if the cosmos was the picture we turned to when we try to imagine divine incarnation? What if as Thomas Berry says “the body of Christ is ultimately the entire universe?”

For the past several hundred years at least, Christianity has been concerned almost exclusively with the salvation of the individual human beings (souls) rather than with the well being of the oppressed including not only the oppression of human beings but also the oppressed earth and all its life forms. What if we believed that salvation is about healing, and just as the cosmos itself can be ruptured and torn apart by injustice, so too it can be healed by human efforts to bring justice back to the human relationships with earth, air, fire, water, and one another. (Matthew Fox)

While Christians generally understand God’s will for salvation on earth to involve healing and wholeness for human beings, we must extend our understanding to include healing and wholeness for the rest of creation. To usher in God’s will on earth as in heaven requires that we treat the earth as if it were heaven. This means we must treat it with respect for its sacredness and ensure its health, beauty and wholeness. Human responsibility that reconciles humankind and creation with God does not requires dominating the earth as Christians have often misunderstood their task, but loving the earth as one’s kindred and one’s self. Restoration of right relationship with God includes restoration of right relationship with the earth. Such restoration is redemptive because we move toward God’s original intention of the harmonious interrelatedness of life. (Karen Baker-Fletcher and Garth Kasium Baker- Fletcher)

Though we live in a new time, so much of theological worldview continues to come to us from the Council of Nicea: While its hold is fading many continue to be formed in a kind of theological thinking in which there is the world (which was evil and to be escaped,) the church (which was the vehicle of escape) and heaven or the other world (our real purpose in life.) We have developed much of our theology based on this world denying approach. As I have said, much has shifted but it is not left behind.

Thomas Berry says, “The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation. Such, it seems to me, is the situation we must deal with now. We are confused at present because our historical situation has changed so profoundly. Our story, too, has changed. We no longer know its meaning or how to benefit from its guidance. We are in trouble now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story.”

A prayer for Earth Hour
Creator God, this earth is beautiful and fragile. Forgive our confusion and inaction as we confront the challenges of climate change. In the light of your truth, seen so clearly in the life and teachings of Jesus, help us to re-examine ourselves and our lifestyle choices and see clearly the implications of how we live on all that sustains life on earth. May we follow your leading in caring for every aspect of this precious world, which you made and love. Throughout history you have moved people to do amazing things for the sake of their neighbours and especially the poor. Inspire us now to work together, to change priorities in the way we live so that we build a fair and safe world for all your creation and for future generations. Amen
(Source: Eco-congregation, Ireland)