High River United Church of High River, Alberta

A Message to Connect - Earth Day - April 22

Grace & Peace to you! 

Susan’s thoughts for today:

It’s Earth Day!

In the creed of The United Church of Canada, we declare that we promise to “live with respect in creation” as part of our faithful living and our following of the Way of Jesus.


The interesting situation is that while all of us humans are sheltering at home to reduce our physical contact with other humans, the earth and nature are being restored. As we drive less, travel less and consume less, amazing things are happening in nature. There are dolphins in the canals in Venice, Italy – and that hasn’t been seen for decades because the large cruise ships visiting Venice have made it to dangerous for the dolphins. The canals are also clear of pollution. In various areas of the world, air pollution in cities has been greatly reduced, and people with asthma and other lung challenges are finding it easier to breathe and function. Wild animals are being seen in town and in the cities more and more, reclaiming their natural ranges. Nature is recovering as we humans restrain ourselves. Interesting!


The understanding right now is that the novel coronavirus that is causing COVID-19 usually lives in wild animals, but made the leap from the wild animals to domesticated animals and then to humans – because of the destruction of the environment and wild animals being forced into closer contact with humans and domesticated animals. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it doesn’t just happen in China. It’s happening here in North America. Why are we suddenly, in the past few years, dealing with Lyme disease, spread by ticks? It is because of the destruction of forest habitats and the resulting decrease in wild animals who would either destroy the ticks or host the ticks without harm to themselves. With less of these wild animals, the ticks then turn to humans as hosts – and can pass on Lyme disease, which is devastating to humans.


Earth Day, in the midst of the physical lockdown of the pandemic, reminds us that we are interdependent with nature. Humans don’t function separately from the rest of the earth’s creatures and environment. The benefits, to both humans and animals, of the reduction in pollution due to our sheltering at home prove the affect that we humans have on the environment. When this pandemic is over, we will still need to address the issues of climate change. May we embrace the learnings from this time of having less impact on our environment!


In the beginning, God created the earth and all its creatures, and asked humans to be stewards and caretakers of this earth. In today’s reading from the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says to us, “Come to me all who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for our souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Those are words of comfort for us – words we need to hear today as we continue to be confronted by the realities and effects of this pandemic and required lock-down.


However, I also wonder what we can learn from these words about living on this Earth. What can we learn from Jesus about living gently and humbly, in a way that makes the burden carried by this earth lighter?


On the Earth Day, step outside, look up at the sky, look down at the ground, look around you, and pay attention to what you see, hear and smell. Then offer your praise and thanks to God for the gift of this earth!


With love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David




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