Week 2 – Collective impact

Sept. 12, 2021

1st Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9, Psalm: Psalms 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9, 2nd Reading: James 2:14-18, Gospel: Mark 8:27-35

REFLECTION

We reflect this week on the nature of our interdependency with each other and with creation. We must rely on our communities, faith and otherwise, to help us live out our values, and we must rely on creation to feed us, shelter us, and inspire us. In turn, we must provide support for our communities, and care for creation where we can. It is, metaphorically and literally, a life-giving cycle.

For too long, we have ignored this interdependency, acting as individuals with individual needs, as consumers first and foremost. We have been exerting power over Earth and its resources, without giving enough back to sustain itself. Even in our efforts to create environmental change, we often act individually, prioritizing actions that can be taken alone, rather than collectively. Pope Francis reminds us that “…self-improvement on the part of individuals will not by itself remedy the extremely complex situation facing our world today. Isolated individuals can…end up prey to an unethical consumerism bereft of social or ecological awareness. Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds.”(Laudato Si’ #219).

Now we are recognizing that this pattern cannot sustain us.

This week’s Gospel reading reminds us to “renounce oneself and take up one’s cross and follow Him.” We are reminded to act, not out of self-centered interests, but out of the interest of the collective. We are called to act interdependently, to hold collective responsibility for the earth’s future, knowing that ecological justice is social justice. We cannot just have faith that others in our collective will solve the complex challenges of climate change that are upon us. We must actively support our communities on these challenges, putting our faith to work.

PETITION

We pray for the courage to put our faith to work to solve the complex challenges of our time. May we come together in spiritual action, to benefit our community and world…”

ACTION

Research an organization that is working towards solving an ecological challenge that resonates with you (watershed health, environmental education, recycling/waste, sustainable transportation, supporting climate migrants, etc.). Consider how you can support their work and collective impact.

Green City/Blue Lake: https://www.gcbl.org/

The Hummingbird Project: http://www.hummingbirdproject.org/

Blue Planet Project: http://www.blueplanetproject.net/

Food First: https://foodfirst.org/

Land Trust Alliance: https://www.landtrustalliance.org/

PRAYER

Creator God, at Your word, you created our common home, our Mother Earth, and brought forth the bounty of life she generates: the fruit of the trees, the forests, and the seas.

We are sorry that we have strayed from Your call to good stewardship. We have pushed our home to its limits, endangering the existence of far too many creatures and the future of the planet itself. Forgive us. Help us to repent, to turn around, to start again.

We pray for new appreciation for the beauty around us. We pray for Jubilee, a time to restore balanced relationships with all Earth’s creatures.

Grant us courage. Grant us faith.

We pray in the name of our brother Jesus, your Word among us who showed us how to live, and the Holy Spirit, our Counselor and Comforter who gives us the grace we need and has the power to work through us to renew the face of the earth.

Amen.

(excerpted from Season of Creation Prayers 2020/2021)