If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
James 4:17 (NIV)
Climate change is a problem with as many facets as a blood diamond. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by such diabolical catastrophe — do we create policy to reduce emissions, or limit personal carbon footprints? Do we plan for inevitable climate refugees, or address plastics poisoning the soil, waters and flesh of almost every being? The needs feel endless.
In 2014 I fasted from plastic for Lent, and was surprised to find it’s fun to use less plastic: bulk produce, cloth bags, saying “no.” Each year I found more ways to refuse — glass containers, thrift clothing, solar-powered tools. Changes started small, but grew — and were notably joyful.
If Paul speaks of the sin of not doing the good we know we should do, and we’re facing climate change, how do we choose what to do amid all that needs doing?
None of us can do it all, but all of us can do something — and all of us can support the parts that others play. To rephrase the Scripture another way, “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and does it, it is God’s will for them.”
Action: Do the good that gives joy and fan the spark of the Holy Spirit at play. If your gift is hospitality or planning, climate refugees will need your light. A passion for justice or communal life is the energy to feed policy development.
Prayer: Blessed Creator, help me find my joy in stewarding your creation, the place where my deep gladness meets the world’s need. Help me to do the good that is mine to do, and turn my prayers to action; that my thoughts would be your thoughts, and my hands your hands. Capture my heart in a moment of joy to see your will for the world, that I would help build your kingdom. Amen.
Marie Mainard O’Connell is a free-range PC(USA) minister in central Arkansas, excited about her family, chickens and cats, and exploring God’s new movements for church and Creation.
This year’s Path of Peace reflections are designed to help participants explore peacemaking efforts addressing some of the major issues of our time. The theme for the 29 days of the 2022 A Season of Peace is Led Forth in Peace: Critical Areas of Engagement for Peacemakers. With these daily reflections, we are invited to reflect upon ways to practice peace by engaging the following critical areas:
- Climate change
- The intersection of poverty and racism