Today’s Author: Julene Hawkins

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I remember the first time I read about climate change in grade school between the pages of a “Time” magazine for kids. Day after day in independent reading, I would learn about the warming of the ocean, greenhouse gases, and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns. I remember lying awake at night wondering if a flood or storm was going to take my house away or if my favorite animal the polar bear was going to go extinct. The older I got the scarier the news became. Mass wildfires across the western U.S. and Canada, a major tsunami in Japan, earthquakes and hurricanes devastating the south and Haiti. The news was too much to bear. For the longest time, I pretended that it was far away and only affected other people. I was comforted in the Earth Day celebrations about planting trees and recycling; never taking the time to further question the systems that allowed for my ignorance and promoted ongoing environmental hazards. However, when my family took a trip to Alaska when I was 10, I saw the charred ground after a wildfire and got to touch what was left of the glaciers in Denali National Park and I soon realized that all I had learned about climate change was unfortunately true and unfolding in my lifetime.

My anxiety was persistent daily, making point of every new evidence that humans had harmed the earth in some irreversible ways and there would be no beautiful green places for future generations to grow up. While I have since found better ways to cope with my environmental anxiety than laying curled up in my bed, holding on to a polar bear stuffed animal and crying, I still cling deeply to the anxiety that the earth I love so much is suffering and that many of God’s creation is in the midst of a climate emergency. Access to food and clean water, tolerable temperatures, and shelter are already impacting so many people and animals globally. So, today, while I sit and remember all the crises of the earth due to overconsumption, greed, poorly distributed resources, and more, I am reminded that where there is anxiety, God is there. God calls to the helpers and healers and moves us to seek justice and peace for all Their creation.

God, we pray for those displaced by climate change and without adequate access to potable water and fresh, nutritious food. Be with your people and all creation as we continue to adapt to the changing climate challenges and take action to prevent irreversible damage. Allow us the wisdom to find sustainable solutions and to object to the current systems that further pollute and damage our environments. Give us the bravery to continue on each day, doing our best to uphold you and your people by the ways in which we take actions towards decreased consumption and more sustainable practices. In your name we pray. Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.