"We claim the promise of the rainbow, the promise of Creation’s sustaining love, determined to let no barriers — not gender, sexuality, race, riches, nor lack, nor any human fear — pull apart what our God has brought together in faith and love."
—from a Litany of Pride by Rev. Dr. Wayne Schwandt
These will be our opening words for worship on Sunday. June is Pride Month across the world, a time when the love of human beings for other human beings is celebrated. We need that spirit of love today.
I am ashamed that I am a citizen of the world's largest per capita polluting nation (China has the highest overall emissions). If that wasn't enough, we're now one of three countries — Syria and Nicaragua being the other two — that do not belong to the international Paris climate agreement that is our collective hope of averting an already occurring global climate catastrophe. Yes, it will take at least four years for us to withdraw from the accords, but it remains a betrayal of the Creation which God has gifted us — and which is celebrated in our own Pride celebrations.
But this is Pentecost Sunday. When Jesus left, the disciples once more locked themselves into a room and began praying, fearful of what to do without direction. Then something happened, so the story goes: they began to speak in every language, able to go into the market and communicate with the polyglot people of the world. The Spirit had descended! The church was born! Pentecost! Pentecost is the Spirit of power that gives birth to the church. We are God's powerful ones, holy troublemakers charged to work for good despite all that is evil.
The Joseph story, which we will act out in joy and color this story following three months of rehearsal and dedication by so many good people, reminds us of how God transforms evil to good. It is evil that Joseph is cast out by his brothers and sold into slavery. But through tempering and learning humility, listening for God, and growing in leadership and maturity, Joseph becomes the chief advisor to Pharaoh, the most powerful person in the ancient world at the time. He does good: he prevents an entire nation from going hungry during a seven-year famine. When his brothers arrive in search of food, he gives them food. What was evil becomes good. But it required work and perseverance.
I do not know what or how good will come from this action. But my reaction is to suggest to you today, if you have not done so already, to transition your home to 100% renewable power through Interfaith Power and Light. You can do this without any physical change to your power source. Irish and I did this through their bulk-purchase program in 2013. Our church joined their bulk purchase program in 2014 and saved money over conventional power.
If you feel called to other areas of environmental ministry, let's do it. Perhaps the good will come from waking up to the real need to do something now.
My prayer is that we let God's spirit of power move, and let good spring from evil in us and the work we do. May God be with you.