As we began our Lenten journey this year, I invited Faith in Place, a faith-based nonprofit, to come talk to my congregation about caring for creation ministry and advocacy as something we could do. It would go beyond conducting an energy audit, greening the church and patting ourselves on the back because we’ve contributed. It is about understanding how our actions are connected to those we may not know.

They shared with us about the monarch butterfly, a butterfly from my childhood that was always around. But somewhere along the way, humanity decided that milkweed—important to a butterfly’s survival—was nothing more than a weed to be destroyed. It was an annoyance. Unattractive. Deemed not useful.

Now there is a rush to save this butterfly. Somewhere along the way, we realized our horrible mistake. Now suddenly, too, there is a rush to save the people of Flint, Mich., who have not had clean water—essential for survival.

Something so fluid, free,
bottled up so that the masses are wrung dry,
in order to buy life,
to pay for life.

Life that, because of humanity’s greed,
pours out in ugly colors out of a faucet.

I wonder how baptisms were even
done in places such as Flint.

I wonder if those who were called to serve,
those people in places such as Flint,
found themselves besides themselves,
forgetting that hearing the good
news of Jesus Christ applied to all.

And that through their lives,
we’re connected to everyone’s life.

I wonder what my ancestors were thinking
being ripped from the places
where the Creator spoke to them,
cradled them,
loved them,
and placed on ships, one named Jesus,
and wondering how they
had offended this God.

And clearly hearing through sacred waters,
through baptism,
God’s promises.

I wonder,
I wonder if I will ever know the impact
of being ripped from the land
where not only your ancestors walked
but where your people were birthed.

And still in the presence of Creator.

All in the name of water rights.

Of greed.

Of selfishness.

What is our call today? What are the responsibilities that come with caring for creation? How do we live out our Easter promises with one another instead of wondering how we could have avoided all of this?

 

Kwame Pitts
Pitts is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, South Holland, Ill. She is co-founder of Seminarians for Justice at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

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