This past Sunday was officially Earth Day. In some communities it is celebrated with a fair amount of activities and in some communities it is barely recognized at all. In the community that I worshiped with on Sunday we shared a reading of Dr. Suess’ The Lorax. Due to the length of the story, the reading blended the children’s time and part of the sermon time together. The feedback I received after worship was for the most part positive and it really surprised me how many adults shared that they were not at all familiar with The Lorax. You just never know who might be reached with a children’s book.
Earth Day’s origins reach back to April 22 1970 with an event organized by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, but when I think of Earth Day my mind goes back to hundreds of years earlier to the 1200’s when St. Francis created the Canticle of the Sun. The Canticle is a song written to celebrate all of creation and its interconnectedness. The image accompanying today’s post is a stain glass window depicting the Canticle installed in a Franciscan prayer chapel in Springfield Illinois. Speaking from personal experience, when the morning sun slowly moves across the glass from left to right, it is almost as if this window comes alive.
St. Francis was able to recognize the interconnectedness of all of creation hundreds of years ago. In the 1970’s Gaylord Nelson recognized the vulnerability of our earth and the need to alter some of our ways. Today a significant portion of our population continues to debate what our role should and needs to be. Here at Pilgrim Center, we will be planting a tree, just as soon as the ground warms up a little bit. I am going to conclude with an excerpt from The Canticle, and let you decide from there what we need to be doing.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.
Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp