Unmasking our Praise for God’s Green Earth

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

It’s an Earth Day unlike any other.
But it’s Earth Day nonetheless.

On this 50th anniversary of the annual day
that we show worth to Mother Earth,
we are sheltering in place
and observing this tradition at home.

Long-anticipated rallies have been canceled.
A global pandemic has masked our joy
and silenced our celebrations.
But this virus cannot devalue
the virtues of creation for which we are grateful.

For the glory of nature,
we take pause and reflect.
For the beauty of the Earth,
we sing hymns.

Flowering bushes and blossoming trees
join Spring’s lilies, daffodils and tulips
trumpeting their praise of the Creator.

In light of our responsibility
to care for what has been entrusted to us,
we confess our neglect.

In sorrow for the endangerment of species
we have unwittingly allowed,
we own our grief.

In disbelief of the consequences
climate change has brought about,
we shiver at what global warming will mean
for our children’s children.

With gratitude for the blessings
Mother Earth has bequeathed us,
we renew our commitment to protect life
in all its forms and recognize
our interdependence to survive.

With passion to preserve clean air,
pure water and organic soil
by which Mother Nature has nurtured our growth,
we pledge to recycle, reuse and compost.

With humility grounded in an awareness
that we are stewards and not owners of creation,
we confess a sense of pride and unwarranted arrogance
that has contributed to our planet’s plight.

With praise for our Creator
by Whom all life has been birthed
and in Whom all life coexists,
we voice an anthem of worship
all the while listening for the harmony
from honking geese, laughing dolphins,
bugling elk and surging seas.

“The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it…” Psalm 24:1

The Christ of the Empty Church

The Body of Christ doesn’t need a building

The Christ of the empty tomb
is not put off by empty churches.
After all, He has a history of
surprising His followers
who are sheltering in place
out of fear
or out of necessity.

He’s been known to meet-up
with those who are simply
out for a walk
near their home.

Wasn’t it Jesus who said,
“Where two or three
are gathered in my name,
there am I in the midst of them?”

This Easter season
I’m especially grateful
the Church is not a building
that can be locked up
or burned down.

It is a fellowship of believers
who cannot be denied
the presence of the living Lord.
The Church is virtually
a family of faith.

When God Drew Near

Discovering a cure to the ultimate universal pandemic

It was not in Wuhan, China
but in a Garden long ago
where a virus
that would plague the world
broke out.
It was the original pandemic.

A man and a woman
distanced themselves from their Creator.
Hiding from God,
they insisted on wearing masks,
disguising their true identity,
pretending to be other than they were.

And the outbreak has not been contained.
It has been passed from family to family
and generation to generation
for thousands of years
with similar consequences.

The disease is catastrophic.
The infection is universal.
Those contaminated suffer from
hopelessness, despair, loneliness and shame.
It is a terminal illness.

And through the centuries,
a kind and merciful Creator
has refused to be kept away.
Instead of sheltering in place
our loving God has drawn near.
Through prophets and priests and kings,
through princes and farmers and shepherdesses,
through farmers and physicians,
through tax collectors and fishermen,
through rabbis and rebels,
the Great Physician has attempted to
examine us that He might heal us.
But we’ve resisted.

Eventually,
having been born among us
as one of us,
the Creator
fully embraced the human condition.
And on a Roman cross
this loving God stretched out His arms
and reached into our helpless plight
and touched us with His grace.

In His face
we see the life
for which we’ve longed.
In His blood
we claim the antibody
that alone can cure our sin.
In His death
we acknowledge the needed sacrifice
a holy God demands.
In His resurrection,
we take hold of the promise
that He will never leave us or forsake us
whether we are six feet apart
or six feet under.

A Lenten Season Like No Other

How the coronavirus has impacted our preparation for Easter

“So what did you give up for Lent this year?”

Wait! I think I know.
The same thing we all gave up.
Life as usual.

Schools are closed.
Restaurants, too.
Non-essential businesses are boarded up.
Locked beauty shops are revealing our untouched roots.
Salons for manis and pedis are nailed shut.
Shopping malls are shuttered.
Parks are cordoned off.
So are ICU rooms.

There’s no public worship.
No Lenten soup suppers.
No funerals.
AA meetings are online.
Yoga classes as well.

Sheltering in place means we are shopping from home.
Many are working from home.
Kids are learning at home.
But there is one thing we aren’t doing at home.
We aren’t watching our home teams on TV at home (or any other place).
No sports are being played.

No cruises are sailing.
Vacations have been canceled.
Wedding receptions put on hold.
Reunions as well.
And new hips will just have to wait in line (behind new knees).

It’s a Lenten season unlike any other we’ve ever known.
In retrospect, giving up chocolate or meat on Fridays
doesn’t seem like that big of a sacrifice anymore.
Just sayin’!