This Sunday, we switch gears to return to a familiar topic for those of us at The First Mennonite Church: the relationship between our environment and our faith. For many of us at The First Mennonite, it is important that conversations about nature and our faith do not become a novelty item. It’s important that our conversations do not become one-off moments where we pat ourselves on the back for having the right theology, but then quickly forget about them two or three years down the road; and we never really change.
So starting this Sunday, we’re going to take a look at a recent publication by Mennonite Creation Care Network and writer Jennifer Halteman Schrock called Every Creature Singing: Embracing the Good News for the Planet Earth. Over the course of this series, we will discuss biblical and theological ideas about environmentalism and faith; learn about our local Niagara ecology or watershed, and explore both spiritual and household practices for connecting with and stewarding all creation around us.
Let me kick things off for us by sharing a story from author Peter Rollins, whose Atheism for Lent series was a focus for us leading into Easter. In this story, Peter describes a world where spiritual animals come to the animals of the physical world not so they can save the physical world, but so they can be saved by the physical world. Peter’s suggestion is that we learn how to love and how to extend grace and compassion not through the abstract idealism of spirituality, but through the earthy struggles and challenges of all nature and creation around us. We learn about the true nature of life through the reality of all nature and creation around us.