DevotionalNewsMy Creation Justice Covenant: Gary Smith

During Lent, our focus is Creation Justice.  The Creation Justice 101 educational series will focus on what we have done as a church and the possibilities of what we could do in the future to keep contributing to the wellbeing of our planet. We will be invited to write our own creation justice covenants which will inform a draft congregational creation justice covenant for CUCC’s consideration.

During worship, several CUCC members will share their creation justice covenant for our inspiration.  View Gary Smith’s Creation Care Commitment Statement here or read it below.

Creation Justice Covenant/Promise

Gary Smith

I will very briefly open the time with a discussion of these points.  Lacey asked:

say a little bit about why you said yes to this challenge – it is useful to review where you came from

how your writing process worked – I allowed the review of my history and core feeling be my covenant guide

What will you do with the personal commitment three months from now, or a year from now?  – I don’t really think the words themselves have all that much value, but to look back at the process in a year or two would have value to see if it still rings true.

Would you encourage others to write their own? What did you find easy and challenging?  Yes.  Thinking about who you are and how you and your values fit into your life can be enlightening.

 Joy and Love

When I was in 6th grade, my teacher was also principal of the school, and she took Fridays “off” to serve her core principal duties.  During these Fridays, we had a substitute teacher, Ms Kelly.  Ms Kelly loved nature, and she spent (in my mind at least) a lot of time talking about nature and her experiences there.  In one of Ms Kelly’s stories, she told us that she lived in the country along a stream in which she enjoyed fishing.  On one occasion, she decided to leave her line in the water overnight in hopes of catching something during her away hours.   When she returned, she found that indeed she had caught a nice fish, but that the fish she caught had been tortured and torn apart by other creatures in the stream.  This greatly saddened her because she had caused the fish to become defenseless by being hooked, enabling the torture she saw.  She vowed not to fish in that way again.  Yes, she thought, it was appropriate to enjoy the fruits of nature, but she realized it was important to love and protect nature and its inhabitants as well.

Ms Kelly’s talk of nature was infectious, and it was at least in part due to her love for and interaction with nature that I decided I wanted to be a scientist, to learn about, and to love nature, creation, and its mysteries.   As some of you know, science and nature became key and constant sources of joy for me throughout my life and career.

I did not really understand at the time that it would lead me to her same recognition of, I will call it, Creation Justice, that is to treat all parts of God’s Creation fairly and not to enable their torture or exploitation.  Looking back, it is now apparent to me that we always seek justice for those that we love, and so my love for science and God’s creation compels me to seek justice for creation as well.

As such, when I began to learn how our (my) excesses with fossil fuels were leading to a warming earth, acidification of oceans, extreme storms, loss of habitat, and suffering for God’s people, I was saddened and could not avoid engaging in work to slow or reverse climate change.

At the same time, my joy in nature and from creation has not lessened.  Being at mountain tops, at the ocean and beaches, on my bike, or with people working together and enjoying one another, make me happy and hopeful.

And so, these core experiences lead to my Creation Justice Covenant/Promise.

Gary Smith’s Creation Justice Covenant/Promise

Creation is a gift from God and provides me with a spirit of Joy and Love.  Wanting to return this Joy and Love, the spirit leads me to seek justice for creation, that is, to treat all of God’s creations fairly and to prevent their torture or exploitation.

As such,

I will continue to be surprised by and rejoice in being part of the web of God’s Creation, both nature and people.

I will continue to love creation including God’s people.

With gratitude and joy, I will seek to understand and to learn from ever more aspects of Creation.

I will act in new ways to preserve creation when I find them.

I will seek justice and act to restore Creation when I find parts of it wounded or mistreated by myself or others.

I will seek, and strive to follow, God’s guidance in my actions.

Today, these principles specifically call me to seek means to decrease climate change and its impacts on those of low wealth.  These specifics could change, but the core principles will remain.