On Sunday June 21, the Summer Solstice, we dedicated our 72 solar panels, installed this spring on our south-facing roof – dedicating them to God’s glory, not just to lower electrical bills.
The Bible begins with the story of God’s creating the heavens and the earth “in the beginning.” It’s not a scientific report, but rather a truth-telling story of faith–that God was in the beginning, being, creating, and singing out, “Let there be light!” On the fourth day, the story goes, God created the lights “in the dome of the sky” – the lesser light, the moon, to rule over the night, and the greater light, the sun, to rule over the day. The story goes on to talk about the creation of plants and animals and, finally, human beings, in the image of God, male and female, to whom God gives “dominion,” or, a better translation, “stewardship” of the whole thing. Alas, we humans have too often “dominated” the rest of creation, carelessly using its resources, seeking our own gain rather than worrying about how our use affects the balance and harmony of earth’s ecosystems, creatures, or even other human beings. Up until recently, author Diane Ackermann points out, the damage we’ve done to the earth has been largely unintentional – and devastating. Now we know better, so we can only hope that with clear eyes, we can from now on use our considerable skills, knowledge, and imagination to repair some of the damage, so that generations coming after us may be able to live on this beautiful planet.
Second Congregational Church is a Green Justice Congregation of the United Church of Christ, consciously considering how we can be better stewards of the resources entrusted to us, by using LED lights wherever possible, composting all food and compostable paper products from our Sunday morning and evening events, having recycling bins throughout the building, recently replacing our oil burner with a more efficient model, and, just months ago, installing solar panels on our roof.
This has all grown out of our experiences in worship, as we have explored the overwhelming number of scriptural passages that have to do with earth care and our connection to the earth. The United Church of Christ was also one of the earliest denominations to make the connection between justice and environmental stewardship, recognizing that it is the poor and powerless who most often bear the greatest burden of our carelessness–and sometimes downright abuse–of the earth, living near toxic dumps, living in areas of rising sea levels, unable to afford foods grown sustainably. Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical addresses this aspect of the crisis explicitly, in keeping with his–and Jesus’–commitment to the poor. Together we can support one another to live in ways that will help the earth and its people and creatures heal. Together we can advocate for legislation and regulation of practices that keep the 7th generation in mind. As people of all faiths, we can work together to fulfill the sacred trust given to us by our Creator. Let there be Light!
Rev. Mary H. Lee-Clark, Pastor