Worship At Home
Small Group Reflection of 07-19-20

 

In these days of social distancing we have endeavored to provide a Corpus Christi online worship experience. The Worship At Home web page has been our attempt to provide that. One of the ways our community has used this resource has been to gather virtually in real time using video conferencing software like FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, and Zoom. In an effort to hold onto our deep liturgical roots, one virtual group has gone to the point of having rotating presiders, lectors, and even homilists. The reflections provided by the members of this group have often been very inspiring. In an effort to share these reflections with the larger community several of them have been collected and published here on the CC website.

Reflection from 07-19-20, provided by Tom Valois.

 


Reflection on Climate Injustice

“Francis, Go and Repair My House Which, as You See, Is Falling into Ruin”

These are the words a young man would hear in the year 1205 while praying inside the empty, dilapidated church of San Damiano, in Assisi, Italy. Initially, St. Francis thought God was calling him to fix the old church, which he began to do, but eventually the Holy Spirit made Francis understand God was calling him to literally fix THE CHURCH. St. Francis did indeed help revive the church AND he also helped renew its mission to serve the poor.

In prayerful silence St. Francis heard God’s words clearly.

Sara’s reflection spoke about this a few weeks ago – as some of the busyness of our current lives has fallen away, we have begun to hear the calls to fix what is broken. Racial injustice must end!  And now, as economic activity has slowed and the skies have literally cleared in many cities around the world, I think it’s important to ask: are we also hearing God’s call to end Climate Injustice?

In 2013, the newly elected Pope named himself Francis in honor of St. Francis and his love of the poor.

In 2015, a short two years later, Pope Francis dedicated an entire encyclical magisterium to the care of our common home, earth.  A magisterium, simply put, is the Pope’s interpretation of the word of God. Laudato Si is the longest encyclical magisterium ever written and arguably the most important.  It indeed calls us to care for our planet, but more than that, to care for those that live on it, especially the poor. The people most affected by a rapidly changing climate on our planet will be the poor, as can already be seen across the planet through flooding and drought. Eighteen of the hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. 2019 was the hottest on record and 2020 is on track to be even hotter. Our warming world will inflict pain and death on the poorest as they have no means to cool down, grow food and maintain their scarce water sources.

Millions of Blacks have been murdered over the past four hundred years in a slow walk to the grave – MANY didn’t see or even acknowledge this from their bubbles of privilege.

When we come to understand that Climate change is not just a long-term survival issue, but a short-term social justice emergency, does it change our urgency to act? It certainly should, as millions, and possibly billions could ultimately perish – It will likely be another slow walk to the grave—will we notice from our air-conditioned bubble?

What will it take to make us pay attention to this crisis and then to act?  How much pain will we need to witness for us to commit to personal, meaningful changes that lower our carbon footprint – so that we are not vilified as the ancestors that raped and pillaged the earth for their comfort and convenience.

It’s not just the Pope pleading for change. This quote from Reverend Sally Bingham, president and founder of Interfaith Power and Light says it clearly:  “If you are a person of faith, you have a personal responsibility to address climate change. It’s as simple as that.”

Now there are 7.8 billion people on earth—which is what is straining our planets’ resources and ecosystems. You may be asking yourself, how do my small daily choices make the slightest difference?

We must get over our herd mentality to throw up our hands and do nothing!

Think of it this way, if every person on earth took just a one-minute shorter shower, it would save 20 billion gallons of clean water per day AND 3.5 gigawatts of electricity used to heat the water. The Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona is the largest nuclear power plant in the United States – it would take its three reactors the entire summer to generate that much electricity.

So what can I do?

I now offer you 10 concrete things that you can do to lower your carbon footprint with minimal impact to your daily life. You may already be doing many of them, and if so, ask yourself, is there more I can do? Have you evangelized these ideas to others – we must spread the gospel of Climate Justice or we are not following God’s call to care for our planet and its people.

At it’s root, the best way to lower your carbon footprint is to reduce your energy use – this will save you money as well as help save the planet, and so:

1. First off, plug the holes in your house by replacing or weather stripping windows and doors, insulating attics and walls, and planting shrubs and trees around your house. Have your power company do an energy audit of your home and they will point out your energy-wasting issues.

2. Turn-off items that use electricity when they are not being used, like lights, computers and appliances. be aware that many electronics use power when plugged in but not actually turned on so unplug them if not used frequently, or plug them into a power strip with a switch for easy shut off.

3. Replace items that use electricity with more efficient ones. The easiest replacement is switching to L.E.D bulbs, but also consider replacing refrigerators, extra freezers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners. Any unit over 15 to 20 years old uses considerably more power than newer models and will pay for themselves over time.

4. Use less water or slightly cooler water during bath or shower time. Low flow shower heads and sink aerators can save thousands of gallons of heated water annually. Turn down your water heater temperature to 120 degrees F, this is a much safer temperature, especially if there are children living in or visiting your home.

5. Set your home’s thermostat in the winter to 68 degrees during the day, and even LOWER at night. Set it to 78 in the summer and HIGHER at night. These are actually the Dept of Energy’s Guidelines and studies show that your body will adjust – think of how warm it feels outside in the spring when it finally hits 50.

6. Travel more efficiently by biking, walking, using mass transit, combing car trips, carpooling and restricting air travel. Replace that car with the expired lease or blown transmission with an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid. If you have never driven an EV, do yourself a favor and test drive one to experience the unique thrill. Used EV’s are now starting to be available for around $6000, and many new models cost less than the average price of a new car. With additional purchase incentives and low operating costs, they are on par with a typical compact car in price of ownership. If you have two cars, your family will fight to drive the EV every time because they are so fun to drive.

7. Don’t waste food – 30 % of food production does not get consumed. The food we throw away represents enough carbon to be just behind the US and China as the biggest contributors of CO2 in the world. Recycle your food scraps at a recycling center so they don’t end up in landfill where they produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is 84 times worse than CO2. There are two drop-spots near CC Church – one is about a mile away and another 3 miles away.

8. Simply consume less – you know the three words: reuse, reduce, recycle. A new t-shirt takes over 700 gallons of water to produce. A pound of meat takes more than 2400 gallons to produce while a pound of broccoli takes only 34 gallons to grow. You can save more water by not eating a pound of meat than you can by not showering for six months. Your parents always said, “eat your vegetables to grow up big and strong” – now you can tell your kids and grandkids, “eat vegetables to help save the planet.

9. Install solar panels on your home, but if you can’t, in about 10 minutes online you can choose renewable energy supplied by the solar and wind farms owned by your power company. You could also subscribe to a Solar Garden and own a piece of a solar array located locally but not on your property.

10. Finally, and most importantly, Vote! Vote for candidates that will support policies that will heal our earth not destroy it.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus said,

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

Jesus’s parable applies to both Racial and Climate Justice:  Small actions (seeds) sown well can have a big impact – and eventually all will be able to dwell in earth’s peaceful, healthy branches.

My final thought is this: we need to change our mindset – think about your simple daily actions and how they impact the planet and its citizens, especially those that won’t have the ability to weather the coming storm. Make it a point to really SEE and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and what we might lose – and then, above all, ACT.