Humans seem hardwired to want to make a difference. The impulse to make a positive impact – whether locally or globally – is a profound motivator for countless folk, including many faithful members of UCC congregations here in Iowa.
In the United Church of Christ we embrace the notion that “God is still speaking” – that it is incumbent on the church – followers of Jesus – to “make this faith its own” in every generation (Preamble to the UCC Constitution). It’s not that the faith itself changes, but the human context is always changing and the application of the faith must be subject to constant critique and innovative experiment.
Here’s an example of a place where application of the faith to human life begs for new thinking: For countless generations, people have imagined that the earth itself is an inexhaustible source of human sustenance. The notion that human activity itself might so damage the earth that it could no longer support the entire human community was never contemplated.
But in recent decades this hitherto unthinkable notion has become increasingly considered – people in many places have become concerned that the consequences of profligate human living are slowly but inexorably marring the planet’s capacity to support the entire human community.
There are many ways we try to make a difference. Some of us contribute to food banks to help ensure that no one goes hungry. Some tutor young people who aren’t otherwise likely to find constructive support for their intellectual growth. Some write letters to political leaders advocating for public policies which are just and compassionate. The list of ways to do good and to make a difference is long.
Recently I encountered a DVD which tells eight stories of faith-based communities making a difference for the environmental welfare of creation. These stories are powerfully challenging and encouraging. I’d encourage you to hear them and together with others in your church imagine whether there are ways your church can take faith-based action for the good of the earth and all who call earth home.
The Iowa Conference is eager to provide a copy of the DVD RENEWAL to those congregations which request a copy; send request to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d encourage you to gather a group of folk to watch these stories and then think and pray whether God might be calling your church to take creative action for the environmental health of this small part of God’s huge – and GOOD – creation!
Think about it. Pray about it.
Rich Pleva, Iowa Conference Minister