This Lenten season you can spot John Muir and the Reverend Hudson Stuck calling for hope as they encourage us to “Join St. John’s Lenten Eco-Pledge,” on posters designed by parishioner Jay Mallin. These two saints of the Episcopal Church have breached their official, shared feast day (Earth Day, April 22nd) to inspire us for the whole of Lent, in a call to live gently on the Earth.
They are five-star guides for our Lenten Eco-Pledge. Muir, the patron saint of the American wilderness, sparked Teddy Roosevelt’s conservation efforts and founded the Sierra Club. Rev. Stuck, a former Archdeacon of the Alaskan Diocese, traversed over 10,000 miles on dogsled visiting wilderness parishes and led the first successful summit of Denali, in 1913. Both men celebrated nature over worldly wealth. “Up here all the world’s prizes seem nothing,” wrote Muir. Stuck would “far rather climb that mountain than own the richest gold-mine in Alaska.”
Both praised God for natural marvels. Muir called nature “God’s first temple.” Neither man lived to see the specter of climate tipping points beyond which abrupt and irreversible change becomes reality. Yet each fought his own century’s battles to protect natural treasures and native peoples most at risk. Each is a testament to hope and the power of the individual.
John Muir reminds us of a connectedness that magnifies the impact of even a single action, large or small, helpful or harmful, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” Each of our actions in the right direction moves the whole of the Earth one step closer to healing. Every action helps.
This Lent, St. John’s parishioners are joining together in an Eco-Pledge to live gently on the Earth. Joining is simple; just choose one or more actions you’d like to take during Lent, from the online action menu or on paper in the West Avenue lobby. Actions cover five areas: transportation, food, food waste, home energy and water, and mindful consumption. Options range from simple, like lightbulb swaps and meatless meals, to more ambitious undertakings – solar panels, appliance upgrades, or an Amazon-free Lent. Choose something comfortable or something that stretches you.
We’ll help each other along the way. At February 16th’s adult forum you’ll find St. John’s Eco-Action Team table in the Parish Hall, providing helpful tips and resources to make pledging even easier. Check out the one-page fact sheets for each pledge area, available online and in the lobby. You can also receive email updates and helpful tips from St. John’s Eco Action Team during Lent.
Throughout this season, look for other guides who’ll inspire us along our pledge journey, a power team that includes a President, an activist, a scientist, and a religious leader. You’ll find them on Facebook, Crossroads, and bulletin boards during this 40-day adventure.
We are all hitched to this world. Take a step with St. John’s to live gently this Lent in God’s first and most beautiful temple. There’s no better season to act with hope than this, as we await the Easter promise that’s as sure as the sunrise.