This post was originally published on the Do Justice blog.
Calling all pastors! Have you ever talked about creation care or climate change from the pulpit? The Office of Social Justice encourages you to participate in the Creation Care Preaching Challenge. Keep reading to learn more about the challenge, discover creation care resources, and learn how you can incorporate creation care and climate change into your preaching.
So where does creation care appear in the Bible?
- The Psalms, Revelation and other books use images of nature like trees, water and fruit to envision restoration — the new heaven and the new earth.
- On the sixth day when God created people in his image, Genesis 1:24-31, God also created all kinds of other living creatures. While we hold a special role to steward creation, we are also related, through God’s creative work in a special particular way to other creatures.
- Colossians 1:15-20 reminds us that Christ’s reign is cosmic in scope, including the natural world and the powers the might care for or destroy it.
- Jesus miracles are direct interactions with the created order.
- Psalm 24 describes the earth as the Lord’s and everything in it.
- Isaiah 1 gives a call to defend the cause of the poor. This call includes the realm of environmental justice and standing with less powerful communities who reap the downstream effects, literal and metaphorical, of more powerful interests causing harm to their environment.
- Psalm 144:12-14 calls on God for an abundance of creation as a sign of God’s protection.
Thomas Aquinas famously wrote, “Any error about creation also leads to an error about God.“ Preaching about creation is one way that we as a church can reawaken this often forgotten relationship that God wove into our very beings.
Sermons on creation intersect with our covenant call to place love of God and neighbor at the center of our lives. The 2017 People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. was led by frontline impacted communities, followed by Indigenous people, followed by people whose jobs were impacted and then, making up almost half of the march, were people who were there because of their faith! Their participation was testimony to their conviction that creation care is a faith and neighbor issue.
Take the challenge! Submit a recording (with a written outline) or a complete manuscript of a sermon you preached about creation care/climate change to the Office of Social Justice at [email protected] by September 30, 2017. (Questions can be directed to that address as well.)
Sermon entries are expected to:
- allow the Scripture text to lead the message.
- explicitly address modern creation care/climate issues and their relationship to biblical justice, especially including local illustrations or effects of policy choices on threatened communities.
- highlight the truth and hope of the good news of Jesus Christ.
- include practical “what you can do” applications
- express our intimate relationship with creation
- have been preached, preferably at a CRC or RCA congregation.
Sermons start with Scripture and speak an interpretation of Scripture that is relevant to one’s cultural context. While you’re preparing your sermon, check out these stories and resources for inspiration:
- Worship in the Season of Creation and Earth Themed Sundays
- Thoughts on Christian responses to climate change
- Stories where World Renew is working with communities to adapt to climate change
To celebrate your work, all those who enter the challenge will be awarded a gift card, and a selection of the submissions will be posted online and publicized.