Environment and Spirituality
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
In the very first chapter of the Bible we learn that God is intimately involved in creation, as both the creative force and the constant parent. Creation for God is not about projecting power, or asserting authority, but about developing and deepening relationship.
What we do here in creation matters. God, as creator, continues to work in the world through incarnation and sanctification, and empowers us as apostles and prophets to restore creation to right relationship with the Creator.
In preserving and protecting the environment, we honor and show our love for the Creator. The bishops of The Episcopal Church noted this in their 2011 pastoral teaching:
Affirming the biblical witness to God’s abiding and all-encompassing love for creation, we recognize that we cannot separate ourselves as humans from the rest of the created order. The creation story itself presents the interdependence of all God’s creatures in their wonderful diversity and fragility, and in their need of protection from dangers of many kinds.
The fifth of the Episcopal Church's “Five Marks of Mission” is “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and renew the life of the earth.” More information on the national church's current commitments to environmental justice can be found here.
Our past Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, holds a Ph.D in oceanography and has written and spoken on the importance of environmental ministries in Christ's larger mission of healing the world:
“We are beginning to recognize that the oceans are not the limitless receptacle or resource we long thought they were. The oceans are in fact beginning to groan.
If we can begin to hear that grave lament, we may recover some ability to partner in renewing the playground of Leviathan. The hope we have in us contains the seeds of a renewed creation.”
~From "Healing Planet Earth," in Gospel in the Global Village: Seeking God's Dream of Shalom
Episcopal Ecological Network
Interfaith Earth Network
Interfaith Power and Light
House of Bishops Pastoral Teaching, September 2011