submitted by Stephen Bryant. This is part 2 of Stephen’s reflection on a trip to Taize and reflecting on the topic of climate change from a faith perspective.
Spending a week at Taize offered me many opportunities to engage with people from various walks of life and from many different congregations. An example of one of these opportunities was being invited to be a part of the community at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Mt. Dora. I had the amazing experience of worshiping with this congregation and being able to share with them about the time I spent living in the Taize community.
My relationship with St. Philip began with them pledging to support me on my trip to Taize, even though I was living in Rwanda as a YAGM at the time when I was making my plans, and they hadn’t met me before. But they are a congregation committed to stewardship of creation and ecological justice, and were willing to support a young adult’s voice in that conversation. We were not able to meet until the Sunday I spent with them several weeks after I returned from France. Being able to share stories and to discuss topics directly relating to climate change, as well as wrestle with what it means to welcome the stranger, was truly life giving.
During the fellowship hour there were conversations about ministries that could be done in more environmentally conscious ways, figuring out how to move towards more sustainable practices and discussion about how climate change impacts people all over the world. The atmosphere was filled with humor, joy and a sense of determination to be good stewards of this planet that God created.
While driving back to my house, a thought came stirring in my mind. What if we truly lived into the line we pray every week in the Lord’s Prayer: “on earth as it is in heaven”? What if we truly cared for all people and boldly cared for this planet? What if we truly set aside our individual differences and chose to try and live after the pattern of Jesus Christ? Maybe this is part of what God calls us to as individuals and communities. I thought about these and many other questions on my drive from St. Philip’s. I know that I might not have all of the answers, but I am thankful to have been supported and connected to a community that is attempting to care for creation and community in the best way they know how. This experience gave me insight into how people of God are attempting to live in sustainable ways and gave me hope for a future where climate change will no longer be a problem.