Christ’s Body, Earth’s Body

Something’s got to change. 

I mean in my life and how I respond to the environmental crisis.  Because global warming threatens our political stability, our food system, and our health; it’s already eliminating the water source for thousands and will soon displace whole populations, particularly in poor countries.  Things are bad.  Out of love for the earth, out of Christian duty, out of concern for the world our children will inherit, something’s got to change.

Emily and I do what we can.  We grow our own food, wash and recycle our plastic baggies, bike most places, get our energy from wind power, compost, strive for zero waste, buy local organic food, we even cook with a solar cooker, for heaven’s sake.  It’s not enough.  We’ll continue to make what lifestyle changes we can, but they won’t be enough.

So here I stand, a small, caring person, helpless in the face of a daunting problem.  The institutions with the most influence (governments, corporations) seem unapproachable.  The more email petitions I click, the more ineffective I feel.  I could write letters, but where do I start?

In this state I turn to the church.  Church moves me beyond my small self into a larger body.  Every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, my voice dissolves into a relationship far broader than I can conjure alone.  Together we create a welcoming, healing presence in a hurt city.  We contribute money to United Methodist Church missions and make UMCOR, an important relief organization.  Church helps me participate in Christ’s body, something private faith can never do.  In the face of environmental disaster, I need—perhaps we all need—church.

Can church revitalize our faith during these fearful times?  Can church help us build the resilience we need to deal with crisis?  Can church rally us, empower us, and amplify our calls for change?  Yes.  But it’s not yet.  Earth’s body needs Christ’s body.  I wonder whether we can respond to this call.

–Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

2 thoughts on “Christ’s Body, Earth’s Body”

  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    I just came across this post. I’m happy I did. I’ve been having conversations lately with activists working with churches on climate change, and we’ve had some lively discussions about it. From where I’m coming from, I see God re-imagining and reshaping what church is, and I think our collective responses to climate change will be a big part of reforming what truly transformative spiritual community means. To me, the current structures and patterns of our churches aren’t at the heart of this, but can be a part of it. Let’s talk.

    1. Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

      I’m so glad you’re doing this work, Michael! Prospect Park UMC is just embarking on a new initiative to learn more about climate change and effective responses. I’m hoping this will become central to the church’s mission and identity. I definitely want to talk–perhaps with Cathy Eberhart, who’s spearheading this work.

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