In preparation for the season of Advent, I recently began reading a study called All Earth Is Waiting (by Katie Z. Dawson). In it she writes: “The vision of God’s kingdom that we hold in our hearts is a fulfillment of God’s plan for the whole creation. Theologically, we are invited to imagine that the kingdom of God we prepare for every Advent season is a restoration of God’s intention for the entire earth . . . Advent calls all people of faith to not only wait for that Kingdom, but to actively bring it into being.”
I have to tell you, I feel convicted. I feel convicted because the book talks about our responsibility as Christians to care for creation, and I know how big the pile of trash (and recycling) my family put out on the curb this morning following a week of Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations. I feel convicted because I know how often I fill up with gas in my car for my almost daily commute across the city. I feel convicted because of a number of the small things I know I do as an individual, but also because I know there are large scale, systemic things in place that are not for the benefit of the whole creation.
Feeling these feelings, and knowing what I know leads me to ask: Where can I begin? What difference could I possibly make?!
I do not have excellent answers to these questions. I recognize that I am not anywhere near an expert in all things ecological or environmental. Perhaps that is the place to begin: looking for ways to become more informed, and looking to those who are already at work in these areas. Did you know that the United Methodist Church has a General Board of Church and Society? This board works in areas of social concern and develops resources to inform, motivate, and train United Methodists on issues of social justice, including . . . Environmental Justice (https://www.umcjustice.org/what-we-care-about/environmental-justice).
Exploring this, among other resources, will be a part of my journey this Advent season. My preparations for Christmas this year will be a little different as I ponder my role in the care of creation and look for ways that I can keep the whole of God’s kingdom in mind.