Spirit Sightings

August 2, 2015: What We Experience


from Ray McGinnis

Pope Francis, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, hosted a gathering of 60 environmentally-friendly mayors from around the world who have shown leadership in helping to make a greener future for the planet. Pope Francis emphasized that the climate crisis hurts those who are most vulnerable – the poor of the world.

In June, the Pope issued an encyclical urging leaders of governments and “every person living on this planet” to consider what they can do to respond to a global warming crisis that is real and growing.

In 2015, the months of February, March, May and June were four of the five hottest months on record since record keeping began in 1879. This dramatic picture is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society’s annual state of the climate report. In May, a heat wave killed over 2,000 people in India and in June 1,200 people died in a heat wave in Pakistan. The NOAA’s report underscores the Pontiff’s encyclical mandating our responsibility to care for creation and safeguard the environment for the wellbeing of future generations.

In the encyclical, the Pope contends that exploitation and destruction of the environment combined with apathy and reckless greed are a perfect storm. Leaders of nations and businesses have placed their faith in technology and forgotten that part of loving and serving God involves care for creation, the Pope warns.

The Pope invites all persons to consider the experience of consumerism in society as a distraction from choosing again what is good and making a new start. The Pope’s encyclical may not come soon enough for farming and urban communities experiencing drought. Loss of income for farmers, water rationing and water shortages as well as wildfires have galvanized citizens to demand new approaches and policies for a sustainable future.

Explore… Ephesians 4:1-16

  • What is the calling that the writer of Ephesians is speaking about?
  • What gifts are needed for the community of faith?
  • Why does the warning not to be tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming matter?
  • What is Pope Francis asking people to do?
  • What gifts are needed to respond to the emerging worldwide experiences of global warming, such as extreme drought and wildfires?
  • Why is it necessary for the Pope to issue an encyclical about this topic?
  • What experience do you have of climate change?
  • Are there other experiences people are having that require a response from the faith community, and which can also offer moral guidance to the world?

Prayer links…

God of creation, you have invited us to care for creation. Help us find ways to preserve what you have given us so that we may pass it on to future generations. Let us show what we are made of and prepare ourselves to face the challenges of our times, with your help. In Christ we pray. Amen.

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