O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Psalm 104:24 (NRSV)
I know a family that keeps and raises butterflies as pets. The parents tell me that, like many things, it all started at their daughter’s school three to four years ago when she was given butterfly eggs by a teacher. Since that time this family has become full-on butterfly farmers. They’ve got the whole setup. Inside the house they have a pop-up butterfly dream condo enclosure. Outside they cultivate native plants that butterflies love, like fennel, milkweed, phlox, aster and catmint.
I was recently on a Zoom call with the dad when I completely lost his Zoom-attention. He was definitely looking beyond the screen, focused on something else happening in the household. It turns out that a chrysalis was opening. A butterfly was slowly emerging right in the middle of our Zoom call!
It was a moment worthy of distraction, one that delightfully derailed my incessant screen time for a glorious moment of observation. I was instantly interested. The family reports that they have learned a lot by immersing themselves in what they describe as “the easiest pets you can have.” They’ve trained themselves to be attentive to small things, to look closely and carefully at plants and the world around them.
Climate change is a daunting and serious thing that can easily overwhelm. To combat it, we need big thinking and significant change. But we also need seemingly small actions, like butterfly gardens, that together can add up and bring transformative hope and the possibility of new life.
Action: Think of one small thing you can do to help address the climate crisis, and do it today.
Prayer: Dear God, help us be agents of transformation and bearers of hope in the corner of your creation where we reside. Amen.
Carl Horton is the coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the interim coordinator for the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He is also a dahlia farmer.
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