I really appreciate Katarina Kuhnert’s article in this issue of Canada Lutheran. She represented us so ably at COP26 in Glasgow last year. She reminds us that climate change is not just a problem halfway around the world, but it is also a problem here in Canada pointing to examples of those who live in the north.
One of the things I appreciate the most is the way Katarina underscores that our faith gives us tools for dealing with the climate crisis. She quotes Dr. Mary (Joy) Philip who reminds us that God is everywhere, in each one of us, and in all of creation as well.
This links so well with our celebration of Easter. The well-known verse John 3:16 begins with God so loved the world. There have been times when we as Christians have forgotten this, thinking that the earth, water, air and all creatures were here for us to use as we wanted. Putting only humans first does not honour God’s good creation. Our Indigenous siblings have taught us that when they say “all my relations” they are talking about every living thing—birds, animals, fish, sea creatures, insects as well as the land, air and water.
When we speak about loving our neighbour, it means more than just the people on our street, it includes the whole biosphere that we live in. We have not been doing a good job of this.
Christ’s resurrection at Easter is a message of hope for all of God’s creatures. When Christ vanquishes the powers of death, it is not just for humans. We are reminded that death will not have the last word for this beloved planet of God’s as well. Instead of becoming hopeless at the huge task before us to address the climate crisis, we can use the gift of Easter hope to strengthen our resolve to care for creation and reduce the impacts of climate change.
We can take strength in knowing we are not asked to do this alone, but in the Easter hope we share with communities, in Canada and around the world.
I take hope from the young adults from the LWF who have been faithful and prophetic participants throughout several years of COP meetings, including Katarina Kuhnert, Erica Rodning and Jeff Buhse from our ELCIC.
I take hope from the leadership of the Task Force on Carbon Neutrality.
I take hope from our relationships with Indigenous Peoples who are teaching us a different way to live with the rest of creation.
I take hope from our congregations who are part of our greening faith communities initiative.
But all of my hope is based on the power of the risen Christ. Our new worship resource, All Creation Sings, includes the hymn, The Day of Resurrection. Verse three says:
Now let the heav’ns be joyful, let earth its song begin,
The round world keep high triumph and all that is therein.
Let all things, seen and unseen, their notes of gladness blend
For Christ the Lord has risen, our joy that has no end.
All Creation joins in songs of praise.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!!
– John of Damascus, translated by John Mason Neale
Rev. Susan Johnson
ELCIC National Bishop