Friends of the Earth

As NCF pursues adding solar panels to the roof, Joyce Mast reflects on how this integrates into her life of loving the earth. May your love for creation also continue to expand.  -Renée

“Abuela, you must be a friend of the polar bears,” this from my (about ten years old at the time) St. Louis granddaughter Emma, when I told her I rode my bike to work, to church, to meetings, to the grocery store, all year round. She understood that the polar bears’ existence was threatened by global warming, and because I was riding my bike everywhere, I was not contributing to it.

I’m thinking about global warming during this pandemic when I see maps of particulate matter from burning fossil fuels before and during the lockdown. When the expressways are nearly empty, the air is clearer. But dark areas remain in poor neighborhoods of color where folks don’t have the power to force industrial plants out of their back yards, where because of particulate matter in their lungs this “pre-existing condition” makes them disproportionately susceptible to dying from the virus. And they were already dying of it before COVID19.

Perhaps, after seeing these maps, when isolation and social distancing is past, some folks will be inspired to share rides, or take public transportation, or even walk or ride a bike to work. Maybe think about renewable energy for their houses, workplaces, or (like New Covenant) their church, temple, synagogue, or mosque. Or lobby for clean water regulations, get involved in justice around clean air, participate in a community garden or plant vegetables or native flowers for the bees and butterflies. People of faith have a strong reason to befriend the creation; God endowed it to us to safeguard. 

The best inspiration for my being a friend of the earth is the joy I experience while riding my bike during all the seasons—Spring with new green, flowers; Summer with dark green leaves creating shadows in the sunshine; Fall with showers of colored leaves, and Winter with delicate or driving snow and bright clear, clean air. Always there is God’s spirit, pneuma, the wind, caressing my face, challenging me when I’m riding against it and treating me like a queen when it’s behind me.

I encourage us all to consider and then take up our roles as a stewards of God’s creation (Psalm 24:1) to befriend the earth as a legacy for our children, grandchildren, their children, and their children’s grandchildren.  

Joyce Mast


To participate, note SOLAR in your check memo to NCF at 124 W. White Street, Champaign, IL 61820  (PayPal fees slightly reduce tax-deductible donations)
Service 5/3: The Sound of Life in Common
Order of Service 5/3
Bulletin 5/3

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