During our “Prayers of the People” yesterday, two prayers particularly caught my attention.
My wife offered her thanks to God for the beauty of the fall leaves all around us. Both she and I had the pleasure of driving from Northampton to Agawam for the service. Normally I don’t love my commute, but the trees along I-91 make it enjoyable these days. After Church, we went north, to Sunderland and Deerfield, and saw more spectacular trees. I was grateful to Carrie for reminding us all during worship to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and to thank God for it.
The other prayer was more poignant. It was basically a lament for the catastrophic declines in bird populations throughout New England in recent years. I think the declines are estimated at something like 75%. I don’t know the cause—maybe no one does. But surely declining insect populations, habitat loss, and the use of pesticides are all playing a factor. And, of course, behind the scenes lies climate change.
Our Diocese has a “Creation Care Missioner,” a person charged with helping us as a diocese to be aware of the threats to God’s creation and our Christian responsibility as stewards of it. As it happens, I will attend a meeting this week to reflect on this ministry. Our prayers yesterday reminded me both to be grateful for creation and keenly aware of the many ways in which we have damaged it. My hope is that we can all both appreciate the incredible gift of creation and do a better job of caring for it.
Fr. Harvey Hill
This blog is my occasional reflections on life, God, Christian faith, and the Church. I hope you find it helpful!