Festival Worship - Youth Sunday
- Ryan and Graciela
Highlights from Ryan's Sermon:
We humans are responsible for the caretaking of our planet, as we, with our large and complex cerebral cortices, are the prevailing species with the power to decide the fate of this cherished Earth. However, we humans have not done as we should. We have greedily consumed more and more global resources as the animals suffer and the environment withers away like paper on fire….
There is little time left to fix climate change, and the first through third verses [of 1Thessalonians 5] talk about the restrictions of time we know all too well. As verse 3 says, “There is peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there is no escape.” According to recent studies from U.N. scientists and researchers, the deadline for correcting this fatal course is 2030. That’s only a decade away…
There is still some hope if we work rigorously and set ambitious goals. Then may we will have a chance. There are many things being done to help set us on the right track. For example, the Green New Deal. This is a collection of bills that will help shape our future and set realistic goals for the 2030 deadline. It also faces the fear driving people away from climate change and clean energy, which is the fear that blue-collar workers will lose their jobs if fossil fuel companies are driven away… If we get the message across effectively to enough people that the Green New Deal has a solid plan for minimizing the impact of the switch to renewable and clean energy, then we can also greatly increase the chance that it will have a future…
Not only do we have human-made incentives for the future consequences of climate change to contend with, but also God, who wants us to fix this issue. We are the caretakers of this world with all the preeminence of our human intellect, and therefore it would be entirely shameful if we then could not be able to handle something so simple as taking care of the very place we live. Verse 11 [of 1 Thessalonians 5] says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” This is key to our success in the fight against climate change.
Highlights from Graciela's Sermon:
It seems pretty reasonable to think that in a world slowly decaying at our hands, hope for the future would be scarce and unfounded. But the Bible gives us reason to think otherwise. It writes about sudden destruction coming inevitably, undeniably (check!). And it may appear that there is no escape (check!). But in this catastrophic situation God also gives us a way out. The scripture doesn’t suggest anything easy,but does have faith in God’s people to turn around the mess they’ve made…
As youth, we have a unique position in this struggle to save the earth. We may not have all that much power or money, but we do all have skin in the game. Because at the point when the damage we will have done to the earth is said to be irreversible, I will only be in my 20s and most of the rest of our youth group will still be in college. Our lives will have barely started, and yet the life of our home, planet Earth, will be coming to a premature end.
Only recently have humans started to focus on the devastation they have wrought for the past few generations, and we can not go fast enough, as coal and natural gas companies continue to pump inconceivable amounts of greenhouse gases into our environment.
And even though God calls on us, as Christians, to take action against this destruction, it will likely take more than a few angry worshippers to turn around what all of the world
has done, which is why at the end of our passage, God also gives one last piece of advice. God says to encourage one another to build up our strength against this seemingly invincible opponent. As much as we may like to be the ones responsible for saving the world from utter destruction, we have to look to each other and form a united front to have a chance…
But on a smaller scale, we are all part of the fight, armed with our breastplates of faith and love, and our helmets of hope of salvation and don’t each need big tech companies or national projects to do our part. As the scripture says, God didn’t put us here to be destroyed. We have all the tools we need to reach salvation, if we just put them to use.
A few weeks ago I saw the poster out in coffee hour with the updated motto for recycling, that was to: Refuse, reduce, repair, reuse, rot…. And if all else fails, then recycle. If we all encourage each other to do things like this together, I think then we’ll be following God’s instructions and living in the light.