Stewards of the land
For four Sundays in September, the Rev. Ruth Morrison adapted her sermons to a “Season of Creation” theme, following a program established in New Zealand.
As the Season of Creation web site explains, “In the Seasons of Advent, Epiphany, Lent and Easter, we celebrate the Life of Christ. In the Season of Pentec0st, we celebrate the Holy Spirit. Now in the Season of Creation, we have the opportunity to celebrate creation and the Creator.”
For the first three Sundays, Ruth used the themes of Forest, Land and River, helping members of the church to better understand our need to be stewards of the land and our environment; the responsibility to care for the foundations of Creation.
On Sunday, Sept. 28, Ruth completed the Season of Creation series with a discussion of Wilderness and it was Chris Franklin, executive director of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, who provided the congregation with the words to consider.
The message of Chris’ talk was our “need to preserve” our environment and to make sure “we have a plan for these lands to be here, to be available for future generations.”
While Chris was referring to our lands as a whole, because of where we worship, he specifically was referring to the trails behind our church and Robinson Woods, key elements of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust.
Chris reflected on the environmental initiatives of John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt and Rachel Carson and how his own lifetime has paralleled much of the environmental movement.
He singled out the 1969 Moon Landing as being a “real awakening for our society.” He said as images of the Earth were sent back by Apollo 11 astronauts, we began to realize we were “just a little island in space.”
A year later, the first Earth Day was celebrated and other environmental acts and initiatives were soon to follow, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
Chris said awareness of issues like the regulations of pesticides and clear cutting of forests were then brought to the forefront. In Maine that meant cleaning up our rivers, particularily the Androscoggin and others that had become so polluted they sometimes would catch fire.
Chris explained that this is an important time to be considering all of these issues because next year will be Cape Elizabeth’s 250th anniversary and “we need to think about where we will be in the next 250 years.”
Chris used this quote from Adlai Stevenson, delivered in 1965 to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, for us to ponder our responsibility to be caring stewards of our environment:
“We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed, for our safety, to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.”
Thank you, Chris.