I'm preparing to present a workshop at diocesan convention in a couple of weeks on "Green Worship." I did this same workshop last year with two other folks in another diocese. This year I am doing it on my own. As I prepare I am reading a number of books on "environmental theology." This theology is really a combination of a number of theologies about justice, economy, who we are, who Jesus is, and who God is. I came across this quote from chapter 6 on worship in the book, "A New Climate for Theology," by Sallie Mcfague:
"When we pondered the translatability or substitutability of these two terms, “God” and “love,” and we asked which is a translation of which, we were looking in the wrong place for a translation. In the translatability of the love of God it is we who are to be translated, transformed, and carried over into action, carried off by the movements of love, carried away by the transcendence that this name names and commands. The translation of the love of God is transcendence; it is the movement that it names, the deed that it demands, for the love of God is something to do.”
Mcfague continues by discussing how transcendence is not about God, it is about movement, a movement of love, it is what WE do for the love of God. Religion is not about believing in God but about doing something for the love of God.
One way we do something for the love of God is worship. For me worship is the opportunity for us to gather with other people who hold a similar understanding of the love of God and our call for action. Worship is about gratitude for the God who made us and all creation. Worship is about learning who we are and what we are called to do in love. Worship connects us and grows community - we are not isolated individuals struggling to know God all alone. Worship is the primary place and way a community shows a public face for to the world around them, inviting others to journey with the community. Worship is a journey in faith. For Christians we understand the love of God as active in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus through which the Holy Spirit now lives within us leading and guiding us in actions of love.
Green Worship is an opportunity for us to reflect on and remember that we are created to live in a world community of human beings, plants, trees, water, land, air, sun, moon, and stars. We are stewards of this world caring for the earth as God's home, our home. This is less about dominating the earth to meet just our wants and desires. It is more about caring for the earth as a sacred place where God's love lives and is revealed in many ways, including in and through human beings and our actions.
May we act in love. For God's sake.
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