A Reflection for Faith Climate Action Week by Rev. Dele

“If MY PEOPLE who are called by MY NAME will HUMBLE THEMSELVES…I will heal the land”

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God is intentionally preaching to the choir—those of us inside “the movement”—who acknowledge our Creator and are passionate for the environment. God is not asking for the religion of campaigns that policy makers require. God asks for relationship, to seek our Creator’s face…

Remember the lessons learned from observing and working with the community of beings that make up soil; learn from daily patterns of how the wind blows; embody the currents of knowledge that flows through our streams, creeks, rivers and oceans. We will only protect what we love, and we can only love what we know intimately. During Faith Climate Action Week, revive your intimacy with Mother Earth.

  • Consider the earth elements reflected in your favorite sermon style. Do you respond best to emotionally fiery tirades or intellectually airy discourses? Do you make room for cool earth-based reflections and messages that flow with rivers of refreshment?
  • Reflect on the museum of monoculture that makes up the yards in your neighborhood. What campaigns are necessary to redeem our ecosystems from the largest crop produced in the US: 30 million+ acres of lawn that do not earn money or feed anyone?
  • Touch a rock formation. See its breathing rooms, observe how it supports a diversity of beings, and rise with a new relationship.

Soil is a community of beings whose work together nourishes life on the planet. When we work with Soil in respectful, harmonious and loving ways, we retain intimacy with our Creator and keep our hearts soft enough to love one another. In Gen. 2:15, the Hebrew word often translated as till is the same word translated elsewhere as serve. It is the word that Joshua used when he said that as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. In other words—Love.So, before we were asked to love God, or even one another, we were asked to love Mother Earth. The lessons learned in performing this one action are sufficient to maintain our oneness with our Creator and therefore harmony with our fellow humans.

Holy Gracious and Loving One!
You that sends the same breath of life through all of the human race,
Who combined the celestial with the terrestrial in this vessel called the human body,
By the name we have internalized,
We acknowledge that your presence is written on our hearts.
We call forth your presence without shame.
We call your love and your light to be with us, to surround us, and infuse us with justice restoring power.
We humble ourselves by remembering it is your soil that encases our soul.
We open our hearts and pray Please,
Increase our collective strength, wisdom and courage to
remove a food system that poisons our land, oppresses its workers, and sickens the consumer.
Root our collective strength in love so that all of the ways we generate energy reflects cycles of regenerative wisdom, and compassionate systems of sharing.
Please anoint each one with power to reclaim balance in all of our environments
And as we erase inequity, we promise,
“We will serve our land, so that she is preserved. We will love our land so she can care for us”
And as we turn away from our selfish and wasteful ways,
you have promised to hear us, forgive us and heal our land.
We renew our commitment to this sacred pledge
May we return and give thanks always and in all ways with love, grace and kindness
Amen, Ashe, Aho

[Ashe is a benediction that means “so be it” in Yoruba. Aho is used by the Cherokee as a benediction. It means hello in Lakota and thank you in Kiowa]

A portion of the above reflection was a closing reflection and invocation by Rev. Dele, given at the Farm Bill Symposium at American University on March 28, 2017.

Rev Dele is a grandmother, Climate Reality Leader, VAIPL board member, regional liaison for Green the Church, and council member for National Congress of Black American Indians. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ with Baptist affiliations. See additional work at www.revdele.com, and contact her at rev@revdele.com.