Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Observing Lent – Week Four

Beauty Never Fades

Originally uploaded by Extra Medium

The following is the flow of the Lenten GuideA Journey into Wholeness – by Christine Sine. This is my fourth entry on observing lent.

Week One: Journey into the Brokenness of Our Inner Selves
Week Two: Journey into the Brokenness of Hunger
Week Three: Journey into the Brokenness of Homelessness
Week Four: Journey into the Brokenness of Creation
Week Five: Journey into the Brokenness of God’s Family
Holy Week: Journey from Palm Sunday to the Cross.

At the fall, we lost at least four things. Our relationship with God, our relationship with one another, our relationships with our self (our own inner brokenness) and our relationship with creation. Paul in Romans tells us that all of creation groans to be released from the curse. The future that John the Revelator saw in Revelation was that of a renewed creation – where God makes all things new. He doesn’t make all new things, but makes all things new. (Rev. 21:5) In other words, God redeems the world.

In N.T. Wrights words “God does for the world what he did for Jesus as Easter – a re-embodiment, a new vibrant life which does not decay or corrupt, a world in which justice and peace overflow like milk and honey in the promised land, where all of creation is renewed.” In other words, what was lost at the fall will be regained in the end, including all of creation. Which is why Paul says in Col. 1:19, 20 “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

So as we freshly grasp what God has promised in the final scene of His story, and we anticipate the future in the present or engage in what I like to call future oriented living, one of our tasks is to care for creation. Because life in the coming age is going to be a world in which creation is restored and renewed and filled with God’s love and life, how can we in our approach to the environment anticipate that?

One of the ways is by engaging in sustainable living. Today at our weekly gathering, I talked about the deadly sin of greed, which you can listen to on-line soon. I gave a few antidotes to greed, including practicing gratitude and generosity. But I also talked about the importance of living more sustainable lives.

There is an organization, which is based Oakland called Redefining Progress, that you should check out. It is rich with resources on sustainable living. The group was founded by Harvard MPA graduate Ted Halstead to develop and promote economically viable, as well as socially equitable and environmentally sustainable public policy.

In 1995 they developed was has come to be known as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) with the goal to inspire national debate about true measures of economic health. They make a great point when they say that “the choice of indicators reflects how a given population defines progress. Traditional indicators – such as gross domestic product (GDP) or corporate profits – reflect a faith in growth and efficiency as the primary mechanisms for improving public welfare.”

At Redefining Progress, they say, “We believe that progress is not measured by the quantity of goods we consume, how fast our economy is growing, or how much financial wealth is being amassed. We believe progress is measured by how well we:

  • Equitably distribute wealth, income, and access to cultural amenities;
  • Diversify and stabilize our economic base;
  • Protect and restore native ecosystems; and
  • Advance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

So as opposed to the GDP they have proposed a GPI, Genuine Progress Indicator as an alternative that takes inequality, environmental degradation, and debt into account as well as the benefits associated with housework, parenting, volunteering, and higher education. Their site, as I mentioned, has some great resources, educational tools as well as the famous ecological footprint quiz.

I share this with you, because I am a firm believer that how we define progress as a society directly influences the kind of individual lives that we lead. And if we are going to make progress in living more sustainable lives and less greedy lives, it would be great for more and more individuals to redefine what progress as a people actually looks like.

There is more to be said, but let me end with a statement of belief that Christine gives us in her Lenten Guide as well as a prayer.

We believe in God above us,
Creator of all things, Sustainer of all life.
We believe in Christ beside us,
Companion and friend, redeemer of all the broken pieces of our universe.
We believe in Spirit deep within us,
Advocate and guide, who lives with us eternally.
We believe in God’s resurrection created world,
Where all things are fixed, and all creation fits together in vibrant harmonies.
We believe in God above, beside, within,
God yesterday, today and forever, the three in one, the one in three,
We believe in God.

Upon all farmers, market gardeners, foresters and all who work the land,
Lord, have mercy.
Upon ranchers, zoo keepers, veterinarians and all who work with animals,
Lord, have mercy.
Upon all fisherman, sailors and those who work on the sea,
Lord, have mercy.
Upon all whose homes are destroyed by tsunami or earthquake or hurricane,
Christ, have mercy.
Upon all whose land has been spoiled by drought or flood or war,
Christ, have mercy.
Upon all those who suffer through pollution and destruction of creation,
Christ, have mercy.
Upon conservationists, park rangers, and all who care for God’s good creation,
Lord, have mercy.
Upon landscape gardeners, horticulturalists and all who preserve and restore the earth’s beauty,
Lord, have mercy.
Upon all God’s creatures, great and small, and on all who care for their environment,
Lord, have mercy.

One Response to Observing Lent – Week Four

  1. Pingback: Last Week of Lent - A Journey Into the Brokenness of God’s Family « Godspace

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