I am resting today from a very full weekend. On Saturday we celebrated Earth Day with a large event. It began with a “Walk for all Species,” a beautiful parade which included a number of bird puppets, each held aloft by three people walking abreast– one holding the head and the other two the wings. There were also children in animal costumes, a couple of dogs, a baby tree, and a large banner of a caribou with a sign advocating protection for the Arctic Refuge. The parade was led by a woman wearing a straw hat with spruce boughs, cones, and bits of birch bark representing the boreal forest. It was a warm, sunny day and spirits were high.
The walk ended at a downtown church, where 17 organizations had set up tables with colorful displays about local food, recycling, political action, soil and water conservation, and much more. Under the banner “Interfaith Climate Action” I had set out a collection of statements from many different religious organizations concerning their response to global climate disruption, material from Interfaith Power and Light, a copy of Laudato Si, the Papal encyclical, and the Green Bible. A f/Friend agreed to tend the table so I could participate in the simultaneous program in the sanctuary.
After I had helped set up the space, read the Mayor’s Proclamation about Earth Day, and walked with a sandhill crane puppet, I put away my lists and settled into a spot in the sanctuary right in front of the podium. We had lined up speakers from many different faith traditions, including Alaska Native, Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Episcopal, Muslim, Unitarian Universalist, Presbyterian, Baha’i, Lutheran, and Quaker. Except for when I got up to read the Quaker statement, I stayed in my spot and held each speaker in the Light. I hadn’t really planned to do that. In fact, in my early thoughts about the event I had envisioned myself in more of a speaking role. But I felt “in the place just right” as I listened deeply, amazed by the boldness, clarity, and similarity of the statements calling for people of faith to be good stewards of the earth and take action in reducing carbon emissions.
In reflecting on the event today, I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible, where Martha worked in the kitchen and served the guests while Mary sat and listened at Jesus’ feet. There were moments during the program in the sanctuary when I wondered if I should go and help out where others were working at the tables. But I stayed firmly planted in my role of prayerful presence. Sometimes we just don’t know in advance what we will be called to do in a particular situation, but I believe if we stay open to Spirit’s guidance we will be rightly led.