Responsively Yours: Living Out Our Faith

Responsively Yours: Living Out Our Faith

Sometime in the 1970s I was walking around my small community in Southern New Jersey with information and a request: please switch to using laundry detergent that does not contain phosphates. It was an era when I was wearing patches on my jeans, and mine included the ecology flag. Our little creek had been experiencing unsightly and damaging algae blooms, and this led to increased siltation. I’m not sure what grade I was in, or whether this was a project for Girl Scouts or a class, but I know that it was connected to my experience of vacation Bible school. Three of the churches in our part of town, one United Methodist, one Baptist and one Lutheran, had VBS together, and my class studied creation and our Christian commitment to care for the world that God had created.

This experience came to mind as I was reading Embracing Wholeness: An Earth Perspective for Covenantal Living, the spiritual growth study for this year. I was blessed by the opportunity to learn, early on, that the way we see the world and the choices we make as we live in it affect the health of the ecosystem and others around us. As Christians, we have a deep responsibility to love what (and who) God loves. Many of you have heard me talk about the fact that John 3:16 says that God so loves the cosmos that God sent us Jesus, God’s beloved Son. Jesus’ incarnation is the fullest expression of God’s love for the whole creation. For those of us who love God and seek to love God more, it makes sense that care for creation is an integral part of our discipleship.

Our journey of faith is never a straight line, and we need practices and communities that remind us of our commitments and help us live as we should. The seasons—both the natural seasons and the liturgical seasons—are among the prompts that help us think about our practices of living out our faith. Many of us make commitments during Lent to abstain from something or to engage in special service or witness opportunities, including A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial. These are opportunities to test practices that may help us to deepen our life of faith and the way our faith connects us with others and expresses itself in service and advocacy. Have you adopted a practice of Meatless Mondays for Lent or Advent? What would it be like to try that for a season, or to extend it to a next season? For some of us, dramatic changes in our diet might not be comfortable or healthy, but there are many practices that each of us could try out and adopt to make us more conscious of our impact on the world that God so loves.

What are the practices that make you feel connected to God and to the welfare of your city (Jeremiah 29:7)? Do you have a community of support that encourages and challenges you?

I hope that United Methodist Women is or can be part of that circle for you and that this mission study will help you in the journey of becoming whole persons through Jesus Christ, living in covenant with God and God’s creation.

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women

Posted or updated: 4/11/2018 12:00:00 AM