Green space

10/2/2007

“The earth is the Lord’s...” — Psalm 24 

On Sept. 26 a group of Mississippi leaders gathered at the United Methodist Building for a Green Summit. The question for us — ecologists, gardeners, community leaders, Christians — was simple and profound: How might we lead Mississippi toward stronger concern for creation and more attentive care for God’s gift of the earth and all that lives and grows upon it?

Ministries of conservation and care of the earth abound in Mississippi:
• Wood Institute, strengthening rural ministries
• The Society of St. Andrew, saving produce that would be wasted
• Outdoor Christian education at Camps Lake Stephens and Wesley Pines
• 4-H, cultivating connection to the earth among the young
• Farmers’ Markets, 41 strong across Mississippi, inviting all to eat “local”
• Recycling efforts in congregations and communities
• Community and urban gardening
• Highway clean-up efforts

The reality is this: We put more fossil fuel in our refrigerators than in our cars. The food items on our tables have traveled an average of 1,500 miles to arrive there. If American families ate “local” (not McDonald’s on the corner but food grown within the community), 1.1 million barrels of oil would be saved each week.

Let us increase our care for the earth, the soil under our feet, the air we breathe, the water we receive to drink. Let us grow in our appreciation for growing things, for creatures that swim and fly and crawl and run and hope. Let us increase our awe before the grandeur of mountains and seascapes, the majesty of forests and the beauty of flowering plants. Let us be delighted in the diversity and glory of all creation.

Consider the difference 1,145  United Methodist congregations can make in Mississippi. What is your congregation called to contribute to this collective witness? I look forward to a rich sharing of ideas as we grow as stewards of the earth’s resources.