With the approach of Earth Day this Sunday, April 22, Canadian Anglican and Lutheran leaders are asking for prayers and Earth-friendly action.
In a joint statement released Tuesday, April 17, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Mark MacDonald, National Anglican Indigenous Bishop and the Rev. Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, invite people to join them in praying “for the humility and discipline to use Earth’s resources wisely and responsibly.”
They begin with the Rule of Life, a prayer written by the Anglican Church of Canada’s Indigenous ministries department and used by many Canadian Indigenous Anglicans, which acknowledges a “Sacred Circle” in which all are related.
“As we read this prayer today, we are reminded of the importance of relationships, including our relationship with Mother Earth,” the bishops write. “We are also reminded that through prayer God calls us to action.”
They then provide some suggestions for using the Earth’s resources more responsibly, including being more mindful with the use of water; eating more locally grown food and less meat; and cutting back on the use of plastics.
The Anglican and Lutheran leaders also ask that faith communities “nurture responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home and each other.” They suggest, among other things, finding ways their communities can reduce their impact on the environment; listening to people of all ages, including children and elders, about innovative ways of caring for the Earth; and “using worship resources that celebrate God’s creation.”
They also ask readers to consider calling for “a more equitable world that recognizes the need for communities to define their own development goals and objectives.” They suggest some possibilities, including encouraging members of Parliament to support Bill C-262, which would ensure that Canada’s laws are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and supporting “free, prior and informed consent for all communities impacted by resource extraction.”
The bishops also cite a recent report from auditors general across Canada, which, they say, shows the need for better relations between Ottawa and the provinces to meet emissions reductions targets.
They then ask that Anglicans and Lutherans join them in a special Earth Day prayer:
“Creator, we stand in awe and wonder at God’s great creation, at the diversity of beings, and at the intricate balance of relationships that sustains life. We recognize the need and basic human right for each person to have a place to which to belong.
“Inspire in us the will to live in responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other are part of realizing our full humanity.
“Gather us together for the love of the world, and send us out, with patience and persistence, to act as your disciples. Amen.”
The statement concludes with Hiltz, MacDonald and Johnson expressing confidence that readers will, through their prayers and discernment, “discover a multitude of ways to learn, raise awareness and make [a] difference for the Earth.”