For the past two triennia, the Episcopal Church, through the work of the Environmental Stewardship Committee, has become exemplary in moving toward an understanding of the great need to preserve and nurture Creation. As God said to Noah in setting the bow in the clouds: “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you for all future generations.” [Genesis 9:12]
Our church has begun to live into the call of the World Council of Churches 1991 Convocation on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation “for building a culture that lives in harmony with Creation’s integrity.” We are deepening our biblical understanding and perspective with regard to Creation and our relationship to the wisdom of the ages. However, the liturgy of the Episcopal Church must come to reflect and teach our interconnection to God through loving relationships with all things. In Romans 1:20, it is declared that the invisible things of God, even in his eternal power and Godhead, can be clearly seen and understood in Creation.
Our church is becoming the light in a great darkness. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants, for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. “Therefore a curse devours the earth and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt.” [Isaiah 24:5-6] We are living in a time when the shepherd of today, the church, must guide the blindly following sheep away from running themselves over the cliff.
“If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven. I will forgive their sins and heal their land.” [2 Chronicles 7:14]
Greed must be healed. The economics which drive creation’s destruction, the dumping of toxic waste and garbage on minority communities, the devastation of forests and wetlands, the total disregard for every living thing, and the inability to find peace in our lives comes from greed. Violence is as subtle as pollution and as horrific as murder. Pollution of our planet affects the health of every living thing. We must learn that violence is the barometer by which we see the manifestation of our spirituality.
– From the Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation Commission’s Report to the 1997 General Convention