A beautiful Sunday along the river
The Week Ahead…
September 27 – Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 27 – 10:00am – Join here at 9:30am for Morning Prayer – service starts at 11am Meeting ID 862 2216 5658 Password 831273
September 27 – 11:15am – National Cathedral church service online
October 1 – 10:00am – Ecumenical Bible Study through Zoom
October 4 – Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 4 – 10:00am – Join here at 9:30am for Morning Prayer – service starts at 11am Meeting ID 862 2216 5658 Password 831273
October 4 – 11:15am – National Cathedral church service online
St. Michael and the Angels, Sept. 29
Michaelmas, or the Feast of Michael and All Angels, is celebrated on the 29th of September every year. As it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days; in England, it is one of the “quarter days”.
Traditionally, in the British Isles, a well fattened goose, fed on the stubble from the fields after the harvest, is eaten to protect against financial need in the family for the next year; and as the saying goes:
“Eat a goose on Michaelmas Day,
Want not for money all the year”.
Part of the reason goose is eaten is that it was said that when Queen Elizabeth I heard of the defeat of the Armada, she was dining on goose and resolved to eat it on Michaelmas Day.
On this day, we give thanks for the many ways in which God’s loving care watches over us, both directly and indirectly, and we are reminded that the richness and variety of God’s creation far exceeds our knowledge of it.
ECW Fall Meeting Oct 15, a virtual meeting
“Let us make servants of your peace”
Please register here by Oct 8th to receive your Zoom Webinar link and to view the program. The meeting begins, 9am. There is no fee for the meeting but they are requesting a donation of $35.00.
Powerpoint on the progress of the Pavilion
Lectionary, October 4, 2020, Pentecost 18, Proper 22, Year A
I.Theme – Look carefully at the vineyard you are cultivating!
"Vineyards with view of Auvers" – Van Gogh (1890)
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
The main motif in 3 of the 4 readings is about the vineyard which beginning in the Old Testament refers to Israel and by the Gospel to those tending it. Corruption is evident in Israel in the 8th Century BC and in 30AD with Christ. In Christ time the vineyard represents all places where we have been called by God to produce the fruits of the kingdom. The real villains move from Israel as a country to specific groups cited by Matthew.
The Isaiah reading is one of the oldest parables in the Bible. This song of the vineyard is a parable and a prophetic attack on corrupt Israel. It begins as a love song, singing of a deep love that is giving and caring, moves on to convey disillusionment, and then to express anger and a withdrawal of love and care. The coming destruction (verses 5-6) results from the people’s failure to do what God "expected," and more literally and poignantly, what God "hoped for" (verses 2, 4, 7). God doesn’t destroy the vineyard directly. Instead, what he described was simply the removal of his care and protection of the vineyard, the careful work done earlier.
The Psalm is a carryover from the Old Testament reading. The same imagery of Israel as the vine in God’s vineyard is used here. This is the exile’s lament over the vineyard now in ruins. It is an expression of abandonment and a lament psalm pleading for restoration. But while Isaiah wanted to spur the people repent, the psalmist sought to spur God to repent.
The Phillippians reading is Paul’s personal testimony beginning with his Jewish credentials and his achievements in the Jewish faith – a Pharisee, a keeper of the Law, a persecutor of the church. Yet what he discovered was that a right relationship with God was based not on Law but on a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
Greater than any of these qualifications and attributes is to know Christ. This is no head knowledge (as, he implies, is the knowledge of the law) but means taking on a way of life, one that includes suffering. Here is the famous metaphor of the race, when the runner knows that to dwell on a mistake in the last lap is to distract her from focusing mind and energy on the last few yards. Behind this is Paul’s anxiety about another view strongly at work in the young church, that the only approach to the new faith is through the old. To receive the grace of God in Christ you do not need to be ‘primed’ with the Law and all its observances.
The Gospel reading is the famous Parable of the Wicked Tenants which continues the vineyard setting. The story is of an absent landowner who sends two sets of servants to collect rents.
For the first set, they beat one, killed another and stone. The second set of servants met the same fate. He next sent his son .Believing the son to be the sole surviving heir, they kill him in hope of gaining the vineyard for themselves. If a landowner died without an heir, the land passed to the first claimant, so by killing the son (presumably the only one), the tenants become landowners and they become free.
The vineyard is the nation of Israel and the owner is God. The cultivators are the religious leaders of Israel, who, as it were, had charge for God of the welfare of the nation. The messengers who were sent successively are the prophets sent by God and so often rejected and killed. The son who came last is none other than Jesus himself.
What is the parable saying? That Christ knew what lay ahead of him, he knew death on the cross awaited him. Jesus’ point seems to be that his opponents (Pharisees) have mistaken their leadership over Israel for outright ownership of Israel. His main concern is the simple fact that they are responsible for pointing Israel to God, yet they have instead pointed her to themselves.
This was a risqué story and it caused a lot of muttering amongst the Pharisees. They were not bad people (except for the fanatical few that any religion seems to harbor), indeed the very opposite, but Jesus suggests that their kind of goodness has now been superseded. Others will manage the vineyard including the church.
The ‘moral’ is consistent with Paul’s teaching about the legalism that tended to characterize the religious people of the day. Then Jesus infuriates his hearers by quoting one of their texts as if it was as much his – the stone that the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22) but giving them a new dimension in making it refer to himself.
The parable serves to show how the temple leaders have been entrusted by God and how they have rebelled against God. It also prophesies their violent rejection of the Son. Jesus’ opponents understand all of this. They get the parable, but they reject its truth.
We are expected to live under the authority of the Owner; to produce and give back the proper fruit. Sin is not primarily doing bad things, but an attitude of selfishness that has no need for God. We must constantly be on the guard if we are not producing the fruits that will expand the Kingdom of God. A new owner may be waiting in the wings.
We today often find it profoundly worrying when other people lay claim to religion, whether it is people of another culture living in our midst or people claiming to have found alternatives in other spiritualities. By all means let’s keep our critical faculties, but let us also hold open the possibility that they have found something that deepens and enlivens our own beliefs and practices.
Rev. Winnie Varghese
“The kingdom of God will be taken away from you.”
— Matthew 21:43
"When I hear these words about tenant farmers, stewards, scheming to get more than their fair, legal share, I can’t help but think of sharecroppers, serfs, peasants, landless laborers, migrants on every continent through the ages, wondering what it might take to create some security and stability in their lives. Surely the first people who heard this story were more likely to be like the tenants than a landowner.
"Where is the kingdom of God in that? And what is this kingdom of God that we have already that can be taken from us?
"In this reading from Matthew, and in all of the readings, it is clear that there is a law and also a parallel or critique, a law from the tradition, that is the way of the kingdom of God, the world as God intends it.
"What does the Bible tell us are the attributes of a society living within a vision of God’s justice?
"In your context, does the law support you if you wish to live within that vision?
"The virtues of the reign of God’s justice, the world as God intends it to be, are clear in the Hebrew Scripture: The love and awe of God are illustrated by a just society. A just society has God at the center. A just society is marked by law that enshrine fairness toward one another; compassion and generosity to those who cannot fend for themselves; and right stewardship of the earth.
"These are clearly difficult values to apply in real living. In 2017, as in the time of the Hebrew prophets, we can feel like wackos at the gates of the palace as we try to proclaim these values.
"As Christians, living as though the law of God is the law of our hearts is the work of our lives. We listen and bring the breadth of our experience to these texts, and we are convicted by them. "
Season of Creation Devotional for Oct. 4
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” – Psalm 19:7
From Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
In the story of creation God provided a paradise. All of creation was in balance and was a delight. And God set clear boundaries so that balance could be maintained and all created things could flourish. These boundaries provided definition that made possible the amazing diversity of the created world. Far from being a constraint, these boundaries provided freedom and, paradoxically, real connection.
But humankind rebelled and continues to rebel. It is almost as if we view boundaries as an offense and limits as an affront. Creation is ours to use! But that denies the truth that we have this one earth and this one temporal life.
As I write this, we are living in a pandemic. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, bringing sickness and death. Viruses are strange creatures. They have no nucleus or membrane; they are unable to differentiate like normal healthy cells and are completely dependent on a host cell to survive. They will use up that cell even if it means the death of the host.
So God, through the law, gave us the gift of limits. God is God and we are not. We are responsible to each other. Our actions have consequences. We are not to live as membrane-less viruses.
The law of the Lord is perfect, sure, right, clear, pure and true. It brings wisdom, rejoicing, enlightenment and righteousness.
Creator God, help us to accept your boundaries so that all created things can flourish. Amen.
Season of Creation – Special Articles
Misuse of God's Creation? Climate Change, Part 4 The Waters
Focus on water in the Bible
1. Creation - Water is a primal force of creation . The Old Testament create story describes the earth as nothing but darkness but with the Spirit of God "hovering over the waters."
2. Cleansing -The story of Noah shows God cleansing the earth with a great flood. Water sometimes symbolizes the spiritual cleansing that comes with the acceptance of God's offer of salvation ( Ezek 36:25 ; Eph 5:26 ; Heb 10:22 ). In fact, in Ephesians 5:26, the "water" that does the cleansing of the bride, the church, is directly tied in with God's Word, of which it is a symbol. The story of Noah shows God cleansing the earth with a great flood. In John 4:10-15, part of Jesus' discourse with the Samaritan woman at the well, he speaks metaphorically of his salvation as "living water" and as "a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
3. Rebirth - Water is very present in Baptism. Baptism means immersion or bath in Greek. The immersion cleanses the person of sin and provides rebirth into Christian life. In both the Old and New Testaments, the word "water" is used for salvation and eternal life, which God offers humankind through faith in his Son ( Isa 12:3 ; 55:1 ; Rev 21:6 ; Revelation 22:1 Revelation 22:2 Revelation 22:17 ).
Nicodemus understood Jesus that one must have two births to enter the Kingdom of God - one's natural birth in which water plays a major role and the birth by the Spirit to be the supernatural birth of being "born again" or regenerated.
4. Troublesome times - The word "water" is used in a variety of metaphorical ways in Scripture. It is used to symbolize the troublesome times in life that can and do come to human beings, especially God's children ( Psalm 32:6 ; Psalms 69:1 Psalms 69:2 Psalms 69:14 Psalms 69:15 ; Isa 43:2 ; Lam 3:54 ). In some contexts water stands for enemies who can attack and need to be overcome ( 2 Sam 22:17-18 ; Psalm 18:16-17 ; 124:4-5 ; 144:7 ; Isa 8:7 ; Jer 47:2 ).
5. Water a symbol of the Holy Spirit - In a very important passage, Jesus identifies the "streams of living water" that flow from within those who believe in him with the Holy Spirit ( John 7:37-39 ). The reception of the Holy Spirit is clearly the special reception that was going to come after Jesus had been glorified at the Father's right hand and happened on the Day of Pentecost as described in Acts 2. Two times in Jeremiah Yahweh is metaphorically identified as "the spring of living water" ( Jer 2:13 ; 17:13 ). In both instances Israel is rebuked for having forsaken the Lord for other cisterns that could in no way satisfy their "thirst."
5 In other passages of Scripture, the following are said metaphorically to be "water": God's help ( Isa 8:6 : "the gently flowing waters of Shiloah" ); God's judgment ( Isa 28:17 : "water will overflow your hiding place" ); man's words ( Prov 18:4 : "The words of man's mouth are deep waters" ); man's purposes ( Prov 20:5 : "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters" ); an adulterous woman ( Prov 9:17 : "Stolen water is sweet" ); and a person's posterity ( Isa 48:1 : "Listen to this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel and have come forth out of the line [waters] of Judah" ).
The Effect of Climate Change on Water
1. Rising temperatures causes rise of sea levels though warming of water and melting of glaciers. There are two major reasons why sea levels have been rising: When water warms up, its volume increases. This is called thermal expansion. The melting of glaciers and of the polar ice caps adds huge amounts of freshwater to the oceans.
Due to warmer temperatures, mountain glaciers all over the world are receding. The dramatic worldwide shrinking of the glaciers is one of the most visible evidences of global warming. Glaciers act as a kind of global fever thermometer. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, lost one third of its ice within 12 years. About 82% of its icecap surveyed in 1912 is now gone. In the Alps, the glaciers lost about 1/3 of their area and half of their volume between 1850 and 1975. Since then much more has melted. Switzerland went so far as to cover one of its most rapidly melting glaciers to slow down the loss. In the United States, the glaciers in “Glacier National Park” are retreating so quickly it has been estimated that they will vanish entirely by the year 2030.
Melting glaciers pose multiple dangers: Initially, the increasing amount of meltwater can have a positive effect for hydropower. At the same time, emerging glacial lakes have the potential of sudden drainage that could cause devastating floods. In the long term, severe water shortages can be expected when there will be no or only very little ice left to melt in the summer. The time frame for this to happen varies greatly depending on the geographic location; it may be a matter of just a few years, decades, or, in the case of the Himalayas, several centuries.
The rising of sea levels will result in land and habitat loss in many countries. Bangladesh may lose almost 20% of its land area. Hundreds of coastal communities, Small Island states in the Pacific and Indian oceans and the Caribbean would be inundated, forcing their population to relocate. Experts with the United Nations University estimate that rising sea levels and environmental deterioration have already displaced about 50 million people. The greatest cost of rising sea levels will not be measurable.
It is the inevitable disruption of communities and cultures that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
However, in the more distant future, that is later on this century and beyond, hundreds of millions of people will become displaced if sea levels will rise a few meters. Many important, historical cities around the world like Venice, New Orleans, and Amsterdam will be lost to the ocean. Many of the largest cities in the world will sooner or later share the same fate, including Shanghai, Manhattan, Alexandria, and Dhaka. Some 84 of the world's 100 fastest-growing cities face "extreme" risks from rising temperatures and extreme weather brought on by climate change.
Most worrisome is that the polar ice caps began melting as well. The accelerating speed of their melting even surprised scientists who predicted the thawing. From 1979 to 2005, Arctic sea ice has shrunk roughly 250 million acres an area the size of New York, Georgia, and Texas combined. Between 1953 and 2006, the area covered by sea ice in September shrunk by 7.8 percent per decade, more than three times as fast as the average rate simulated by climate models. It reached its lowest point on record in 2012. The extent of Arctic sea ice in 2019 was tied with 2007 and 2016 as the second lowest on record. The maximum extent, reached in March 2019, was tied with 2007 as the seventh lowest in the 40-year satellite record.
This decline is rapidly changing the geopolitics of the Arctic region, opening the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history and triggering a scramble among governments to claim large swaths of the potentially resource-rich Arctic sea floor.
Many now believe the summer Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2030, decades earlier than previously thought possible.” The Greenland ice sheet is also melting. It holds enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet.
Why are the polar ice caps melting so fast? A major reason is the albedo (reflectivity) effect: Snow and ice are best reflectors of solar radiation. They reflect about 70% of the sun's radiation (and absorb 30%). Water on the other hand is a poor reflector. It reflects only 6% of the sun's radiation and absorbs most of the heat (94%). The intense thawing of ice and snow creates more water surfaces. The warming of the water contributes to the regional rise in temperature, which again causes more ice to melt. This ice - albedo feedback is believed to be the major reason why the Arctic is warming so rapidly. [xvi] In addition, the melt water from the surface penetrates into the depths of the ice sheets. The process lubricates the ice sheets and accelerates their movement towards the sea.
2. Water Scarcity has increased from both rise of demand and reduced availability from glaciers. The amount of freshwater is finite while demand is increasing. One billion people around the world don't have access to clean, safe water. In developing nations, waterborne illnesses like cholera, typhoid and malaria kill 5 million people each year -- 6,000 children every day. And global warming is exacerbating this crisis as severe, prolonged droughts dry up water supplies in arid regions and heavy rains cause sewage overflows.
People who fall ill from waterborne diseases can't work. Women and girls who travel hours, sometimes more than seven hours a day, to fetch clean water for their families can't go to school or hold on to a job. Without proper sanitation, human waste pollutes waterways and wildlife habitat. Global warming and population pressures are drying up water supplies and instigating conflict over scarce resources.
Water links and maintains all ecosystems on the planet. From sciencing.com: “The main function of water is to propel plant growth; provide a permanent dwelling for species that live within it, or provide a temporary home or breeding ground for multiple amphibians, insects and other water-birthed organisms; and to provide the nutrients and minerals necessary to sustain physical life.” It has its own cycle like carbon or phosphorus.
From sciencing.com: “Within humans, water helps to transport oxygen, minerals, nutrients and waste products to and from the cells. The digestive system needs water to function properly, and water lubricates the mucous layers in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.”
The most serious threat to water supply is the disappearance of glaciers which provide much needed melt water during the summer. More than one-sixth of the world's population will be affected.
Most of the planet’s water is unavailable for human use. While more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is freshwater. Out of that freshwater, almost 70 percent is permanently frozen in the ice caps covering Antarctica and Greenland. Only about 1 percent of the freshwater on Earth is available for people to use for drinking, bathing, and irrigating crops.”
In many parts of the world, lakes are shrinking or disappearing and rivers are running dry. Lake Chad, for example, has shrunk by 95% since about 1960. This had disastrous consequences for the local population. The main causes are the diversion of water for irrigation and less rainfall because of climate change. Many large rivers like the Yellow River, the Colorado River or the Nile don't reach the ocean anymore.
The Himalayan region is predicted to be one of the areas hardest hit by climate change. In addition to the loss of water and hydroelectricity supply following glacial shrinkage, the Himalayas are expected to experience sudden and catastrophic flooding resulting from glacial lakes overwhelming their gravel moraine dams; decreased crop production resulting from erratic weather conditions; and the loss of numerous high altitude species unable to adapt to warmer conditions.
3. Water scarcity affects food supplies
We each drink on average nearly about 1 gallon of water per day in one form or another, while the water required to produce our daily food totals at least 528 gallons—500 times as much. This helps explain why 70 percent of all water use is for one purpose—irrigation.”
Aquifers are over-pumped in many countries. There are two types of aquifers: replenishable and nonreplenishable (or fossil) aquifers. Those in India and the shallow aquifer under the North China Plain are replenishable. When these are depleted, the maximum rate of pumping is automatically reduced to the rate of recharge.
For fossil aquifers, such as the vast U.S. Ogallala aquifer, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain, or the Saudi aquifer, depletion brings pumping to an end. Farmers who lose their irrigation water have the option of returning to lower-yield dry land farming if rainfall permits. In more arid regions, however, such as in the southwestern United States or the Middle East, the loss of irrigation water means the end of agriculture.
The U.S. embassy in Beijing reports that wheat farmers in some areas are now pumping from a depth of 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet). Pumping water from this far down raises pumping costs so high that farmers are often forced to abandon irrigation and return to less productive dry land farming.
Changes in precipitation patterns are observed in many parts of the world. The timing and amount of rain are very important for crops. Farmers need to adapt and learn how to do things differently, for example plant different seeds, or different crops, or plant them at a different time of the year.
Preserving Water- 6 things You Can Do
1 Installing an ENERGY STAR-certified washer,
2 Using low-flow faucets
3 Plugging up leaks,
4 Irrigating the lawn in the morning or evening when the cooler air causes less evaporation,
5 Taking shorter showers and not running sink water when brushing your teeth.
6 Consider using non-toxic cleaning products and eco-friendly pesticides and herbicides that won’t contaminate groundwater.
Misuse of God's Creation? Climate Change, Part 3 The Forests
Last week we tended to look down on earth from high dealing with rising temperatures, the effect on glaciers and water scarcity. This week we look at ground level to consider deforestation and next week the effect on the seas
Forests play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the Earth's ecosystems. They provide habitat for more than half of all terrestrial species, help filter pollutants out of the air and water, and prevent soil erosion. Rainforests also provide essential hydrological (water-related) services. For example, they tend to result in higher dry season streamflow and river levels, since forests slow down the rate of water or rain run-off, and help it enter into the aquifer.
Without a tree cover, the water tends to run off quickly into the streams and rivers, often taking a lot of topsoil with it. Forests also help the regional climate as they cycle water to the interior of a continent. The shrinking of the Amazon Rainforest reduces regional rainfall, which in turn threatens the health of the remaining forest and of the agricultural land in Southern Brazil. This also results in an increased fire risk.
Forests and their soils also play a critical role in the global carbon cycle. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere depends on the distribution or exchange of carbon between different “carbon pools” as part of the carbon cycle. Forests and their soils are major carbon pools, as are oceans, agricultural soils, other vegetation, and wood products: the carbon stored in the woody part of trees and shrubs (known as “biomass”) and soils is about 50% more than that stored in the atmosphere.
Trees continuously exchange CO2 with the atmosphere. The release of CO2 into the air is due both to natural processes (respiration of trees at night and the decomposition of organic matter) and human processes (removal or destruction of trees). Similarly, CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by the action of photosynthesis, which results in carbon being integrated into the organic molecules used by plants, including the woody biomass of trees. Thus forests play a major role in regulating global temperatures by absorbing heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and storing it in the form of wood and vegetation – a process referred to as “carbon sequestration”.
Unfortunately, the global benefits provided by trees are being threatened by deforestation and forest degradation. ‘Deforestation’ as a shorthand for tree loss. Forest ‘degradation’ happens when the forest gets degraded, for example due to unsustainable logging practices which remove the most valuable species, or artesanal charcoal production in which only a few trees are harvested. The Earth loses more than 18 million acres of forestland every year—an area larger than Ireland—according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Deforestation is a major cause of global warming. When trees are burned, their stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere. As a result, tropical deforestation (including forest degradation) is responsible for about 12-15 percent of total annual global warming emissions according to estimates released for the climate change meeting in Copenhagen.
The Western Forest Fires and Climate Change
Fires are burning across at least ten states in the western US, but the greatest conflagrations are across California and Oregon. California's wildfires, driven by extreme blazes in August and September, have already burned more acres than any year on record. More than 3.5 million acres have burned in California, with over 2,500 more fires than at the same point in 2019. Oregon fires have burned more than 1 million acres.
The causes are linked in part to unique factors in 2020 that are not related to climate change. Meteorologists suggest a ridge of air over the Pacific Northwest, perhaps related to the cooling of Pacific waters under current La Niña conditions, is the likely culprit. Fire season usually ends around October, when autumn rains eliminate the threat. But this year in Southern California, those rains have not arrived
However, climate change is also a part of it. Observed warming and drying, lack of rain fall have significantly increased fire-season fuel aridity, fostering a more favorable fire environment across forested systems. The drought has gone on since 2012.
There has been an increase in drier air. Coupled with strong, warm winds, the fire risk was extreme. Warmer air over the high desert of Utah and Nevada has lower relative humidity and will become drier still as it descends into California. Drier air leads to more desiccation and greater fire risk.
Many climate change forecasts suggest that there will be less rain in Southern California in the fall in the future, and more rain in December and January. That means fires could continue later into the fall, greatly extending the fire risk season.
The Climate Council, an independent, community funded climate organization, suggests fire conditions are now more dangerous than they were in the past, with longer bushfire seasons, drought, drier fuels and soils, and record-breaking heat in Australia.
The gradual warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases makes fires more likely across the planet, as warmer air dries the soil and vegetation more, allowing it to ignite more readily. California is no exception: average annual temperatures in the state have increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, and the Central Valley and Southern California have warmed even more.
Increased forest fire activity across the western United States in recent decades has contributed to widespread forest mortality, carbon emissions, periods of degraded air quality, and substantial fire suppression expenditures
Climate Change -Spiritual Reflections on Nature and Humankind
The issue of Climate Change that has enveloped over the last generation has involved both religion and science. It is closely related to the Season of Creation due to need to take action on climate change that imperils God's creation.
Science and religion are tools to investigate reality from two different angles. Each discipline asks a fundamentally different question.
Science asks: how does the universe work?
Religion asks: why is there a universe and what is its purpose, and what is our purpose of existence as human beings?
Now, as the Earth is affected by climate change and other environmental problems we need science to learn more about the causes, effects, and solutions to these problems.
So what's the role of religion? While scientists can tell us what needs to be done, they are usually not able to motivate society to implement these solutions. That's where we need religion. Religion provides us with the spiritual understanding of our responsibility towards the Earth and towards other human beings including future generations. In other words, religion provides an ethical or moral framework. And it motivates us to act!
The concern of the environment is an interfaith issue and not just Christian. All faiths have talked about it.
The issue in the Bible goes right back to the early Israelites
A major theme of Deuteronomy is that God’s covenantal gift of the land came with a warning: the Israelites were not to forget God’s commandments; if they did, they would lose the land. Here is Deuteronomy 8 “... the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with/lowing streams, 'with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing. Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes”
As with any gift, the need to preserve it was crucial. They couldn’t do well unless they maintained the land. The soil was thin and easily eroded. The rain was sparse and came in the winter, the wrong time of year. They were a partner with the Lord
More specifics came from Exodus and Leviticus the land was to be allowed to rest, to lie fallow one year in seven; second, crops growing at the edges of the field were not to be harvested, but left for the poor, those who had no land. The covenant was not only between Jew and God but Jew, God and Land.
In Jeremiah, every family was allocated a farm in the promised land Over time the Israelites abused God’s hospitality by living in ways that were unjust, ways contrary to Torah, ways that desecrated the land. Time and again God offered to forgive the people if they would only repent and live faithfully. But they refused, and so God’s commitment to the land required that the Israelites be exiled. But exile was not the end of the covenant. It was intended to be a sabbatical to reconsecrate the land and people, a time of fallowing for land and people. The birth of Jesus was an end to the era of exile which began with the takeover of the temple 500 years earlier.
The Israelites and us all live in fragile land. Our collective impact on the global environmental system has increased since the Industrial Revolution, and we now find ourselves in a situation much like that of the Israelites. To continue to flourish, we need a sabbatical to understand as impact and judge what we can do to reconstitute our relationship to the environment. We are bringing back the kingdom by understanding how everything is connected with everything else. There is a balance which is getting out of balance.
The sun is the source of all life and of all energy. It provides the temperature necessary for the existence of life. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen with the help of sunlight. That's called photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants transform atmospheric carbon into organic compounds, especially glucose (sugars). That glucose is used in various forms by every creature on the planet for energy and growth.
Also important is keeping trapping some of this energy warming the planet and enabling man to survive. Atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide are called greenhouse gases because they act similar to the glass in a greenhouse by trapping heat.
Since the industrial revolution, greenhouse gases have sharply increased upsetting the previously long-lasting balance. The increase comes mainly from emissions from power plants, cars, airplanes, from deforestation and industrial activities. In a very short period of time, human beings have used huge quantities of stored solar energy (fossil fuels) thereby releasing unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere the warmer our planet becomes. This has warmer climates particular in southern areas and has eliminated a percentage of glacial coverage. The balance is upset and we are likely to pay the price.
Misuse of God's Creation? Climate Change: The Evidence
Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska 1894 and 2008.
“Climate change” ( a preferred term over global warming) refers to any significant change in measures of climate (temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or more). It may result from:
- Natural factors, such as changes in the sun's intensity or slow changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun
- Natural processes within the climate system, such as changes in the ocean and its circulation
- Human activities which change the composition of the atmosphere (such as burning fossil fuels) and the land (such as deforestation, urbanization, desertification).
“Global warming” refers to an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface, contributing to changes in global climate patterns. Most people use the phrase to refer to increased emissions of "greenhouse gases
Atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide are called greenhouse gases because they act similar to the glass in a greenhouse by trapping heat.
The greenhouse gases are transparent to most incoming radiation from the sun, which passes through the atmosphere and hits the Earth. The Earth is warmed by this radiation, and in response radiates infrared energy back into space. That is where greenhouse gases come into play. These atmospheric gases absorb some of the outgoing infrared radiation, trapping the heat energy in the atmosphere and thereby warming the Earth.” Life on Earth is only possible because of this greenhouse effect. It has kept the Earth’s average surface temperature stabilized at around 13.5°C (56.3°F) for a long time. The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere the warmer our planet becomes.
"Greenhouse gases" have been produced over the last 200 years. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide. Farming practices and land use changes produce methane and nitrous oxide. Trees remove carbon dioxide, replacing it with oxygen; deforestation lessens this effect in the atmosphere. As a result, greenhouse gases have risen significantly. They prevent heat from escaping to space, similar to glass panels of a greenhouse.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)is emitted primarily by burning fossil fuels and by the clearing of forests. CO2remains in our atmosphere for many decades and some of it for many centuries and longer.
- Methane (CH4)is emitted from landfills, coalmines, oil and gas operations, beef production and rice paddies. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. It stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years. Measured over a period of 20 years, methane is 86 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2, and over 100 years it is about 30 times as powerful.
- Nitrous oxide (N2O)is emitted by nitrogen based fertilizers and industrial activities. It stays in the atmosphere on average for 114 years.
- Fluorocarbons Chemical engineers have designed these gases specifically to trap heat. That’s why they are very powerful greenhouse gases. These chemicals are used mainly “in refrigeration and air conditioning, but also as solvents, as blowing agents in foams, as aerosols or propellants, and in fire extinguishers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calculated that the cumulative buildup of these gases in the atmosphere was responsible for at least 17% of global warming due to human activities in 2005
Could these be natural cycles ? There have been natural cycles of warming and cooling
The last ice age was more than 10,000 years ago. The main factors were slight variations in the earth’s rotation, namely the cyclical changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis of spin and the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Solar variation and volcanic eruptions played a minor role as well.
Temperatures affected CO2 levels due to feedback mechanisms. In turn CO2 had an effect on temperature by augmenting the warming or cooling trend. In other words: Without the atmospheric CO2, the changes in temperatures would have been much smaller.
“The atmospheric concentrations of CO2 consistently fluctuated between 200 parts per million (ppm) during the ice ages and 280 ppm during the warm intervals. This shift from ice age to warm period occurred many times and always within thiCO2 range. When the Industrial Revolution began, the atmospheric CO2 level was roughly 280 ppm.”
On the graph we can see that CO2 never went above 300ppm. In 2014, atmospheric CO2 concentrations reached an extraordinary 400ppm! From this and other studies we know that 400ppm “is not only far above any level over the last 740,000 years, it may be nearing a level not seen for 55 million year
The situation today is very different from the past’s natural cycles. In a very short period of time, human beings have burnt huge quantities of stored solar energy (fossil fuels), thereby releasing unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That’s why greenhouse gas concentrations have been so rapidly rising.
The global warming we have already experienced and the many changes in climate all over the world can only be explained by these tremendous increases in greenhouse gases. They cannot be explained by any natural cycle or changes in solar activity or volcanic eruptions. Today, human activities have a stronger impact on climate than natural occurrences: “We have so much CO2 in the atmosphere that its huge radiative forcing overwhelms the changes associated with orbital forcing. No ice age could start at this point!
Not sure about Climate Change ?
Read the article in "Skeptical Science"
Season of Creation , Part 5 Energy
Isaiah 40:28-31 “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
1. Power in the Bible. We think of power in the natural world as produced from various energy sources in nature -the sun, wind, coal, water, geothermal, oil, biomass and the atom (nuclear). Power in religious terms is spiritual energy God is unlimited and this spiritual energy is unlimited in contrast to the energy we seek in the physical world which is limited. The difference from the physical world is that we do not consume this spiritual energy; we reflect it. It can be adapted to many needs in this world.
A. Power is an inherent characteristic of God ( Rom 1:20 ). It is the result of his nature. God's kind of power is seen in his creation ( Psalm 19 ; 150:1 ; Jer 10:12 ). His inexplicable power is the only explanation for the virgin birth of Jesus ( Luke 1:35 ). Power is always a derived characteristic for people, who receive power from God ( Deut 8:18 ;Isa 40:29 ; Micah 3:8 ; Matt 22:29 ; 1 Cor 2:4 ; Eph 3:7 ), from political position ( Esther 1:3 ; Luke 20:20 ), from armies ( 1 Chron 20:1 ), and from other structures that provide advantage over others. When humans perceive that their power is intrinsic to themselves, they are self-deceived ( Lev 26:19 ; Deut 8:17-18 ; Hosea 2:7-9 ; John 19:10-11
B. The Bible uses spiritual energy which is transmitted to humans. It begins with God's generation of light. This illumination is the spontaneous effect of divine Love in action, of Truth manifested. The Bible then goes on to chronicle this energizing force in the lives of individuals and nations, such as Moses energizing his people, leading them out of slavery and introducing them to the laws of God and brought them to the borders of the Promised Land.
Later Jesus said, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." n2 His great power to do good was generated by God.When he took Peter and John up onto the mount and was transfigured before them, "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." n3 The sparkling spiritual energy the disciples saw in him was evident throughout his ministry, feeding thousands and calming seas. He told his disciples that they could move mountains if they had "faith as a grain of mustard seed
C Faith in God is a transformer. It transforms thinking. Holding to it and living by it can bring a solution to energy needs by causing us to be more inventive, more aware of resources close at hand, more accurate and disciplined, more universal in our concerns, and thus more equitable.
Paul especially images the living of the Christian life as an empowerment from God. The believer's union with Christ delivers him or her from the power of sin (cf. Rom. 6-8) and introduces him or her to the "power of [Christ's] resurrection" ( Php 3:10 ). Salvation and holy living provide the Christian with a "spirit of power" for witness ( 2 Tim 1:7-8 ).
D. For our use we may find spiritual energy can be generated through prayer.
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4. Server Schedule September 2020
10. Recent Services:
Pentecost 14, Sept. 6, 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 14, Sept. 6, 2020
Pentecost 15, Sept. 13, 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 15, Sept. 13 2020
Pentecost 16, Sept. 20, 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 16, Sept. 20 2020
Block Print by Mike Newman
A new “Tree Fund” – to maintain our investment in trees. Read the article and consider a gift.
The pavilion being constructed in memory of John R. Sellers, Sr., is almost complete. If you would like to make a donation in John’s memory to help cover the cost, write a check to St Peter’s, and write Pavilion/John Sellers on the memo line.
3-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.
Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.
Daily meditations in words and music.
Your daily prayer online, since 1999
“We invite you to make a ‘Sacred Space’ in your day, praying here and now, as you visit our website, with the help of scripture chosen every day and on-screen guidance.”
Saints of the Week, – Sept. 27 – Oct. 4, 2020
|[Euphrosyne/Smaragdus of Alexandria], Monastic, 5th c.
Thomas Traherne, Priest, 1674
|[Paula & Eustochium of Rome], Monastics & Scholars, 404|
|Saint Michael and All Angels|
|Jerome, Priest, and Scholar, 420|
|[Therese of Lisieux], Monastic, 1898
Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, c. 530
|[John Raleigh Mott], Ecumenist & Missionary, 1955|
|Francis of Assisi, Friar, 1226|