An Earth Day Celebration with the Whole Congregation


Musicians Joe Dzekevich and Bill Cordner celebrate our earth, our place in the universe, and call ourselves with gratitude into relationship with creation.

The Sermon

I love Earth Day, I love that we come together and love our earth, to sing praise for the swallows, the pine warblers, the oceans, the wind, the trees, the spring flowers when they come. Loving the earth is a sustaining thing to do, a way to feel how we are connected to each other and all beings. Everyday, on my walk I hug a pine tree. Ben does too. There is one place where we can do it when no one is watching. The tree always invites me to experience a different sense of time. To see things on the grand scale of the canopy and at the same time feel deeply rooted. This is a good thing to experience time differently.

And I am wondering if you are experiencing time differently after doing this time line of life on earth? Isn’t time a wonder, how stars burned, collapsed and exploded for nearly 14 billion years to finally reform and create planets like earth? And when earth first came into being it was made up of gases like hydrogen sulfide, the gas that smells like rotten eggs, that helped some forms of life flourish that created more complicated organisms that gave off oxygen which eventually allowed fish, reptiles, mammals and us humans to live?
This is the wonder of time;
this is the marvel of space;
out of the stars swung the earth; life upon earth rose to love.
Are you feeling the love?

And with Earth Day also comes the need to speak the truth with love, and that’s harder to do. Though humans have only lived on this earth a blip of time our impact as a species is so great the era we now are in is called the anthropocene. Anthro means human. We are now the dominant influence on how things go for life on earth. And it’s true, over the 175 years of the industrial age; the temperature of the earth has increased by 2 degrees and if nothing changes is projected to increase 2 more in the next 80 years. Scientists say that because of climate change and the loss of habitats we are in the midst of a human-caused mass extinction, with species from frogs to birds to tigers all threatened. It’s so hard to speak the truth with love sometimes.

Join me-though you broken your vows a thousand times, (repeat and sing), -come come who ever you are wanderer worship lover of leaving, this is no caravan of despair come yet again come. We have on a grand scale broken our vows to care for creation, yet we are not a caravan of despair…come. Let us enter the story anew, let us overcome our shame for breaking our vows. Let us speak the truth with love to change the quality of our time here on earth, from a blip, to a wrinkle, learning from an amazing young girl named Meg, you may know, from Madeline Engle’s book and now movie “A wrinkle in time.” Has anyone read the book or seen the movie?

What does it mean to be a wrinkle in time? Over 100 years ago Einstein predicted that anomalies in space-time exist, something he called black holes, and places light cannot escape. His theory was finally confirmed only two years ago. Up until then time and space could only be measured in the cone shaped spaces created by light, future and past. Now, with sensitive instruments we can “see” the wave energy of this dark space, and in our seeing, vast expanses of space become time. Engle’s story, written in 1962, is based on Einstein’s understanding of time 60 years before his theory was proven. A wrinkle in time means for us on this Earth Day to see the darkness we are facing.

In the story, Meg sets out on a journey to find her father and bring him home, along with her little brother, Charles and a boy named Calvin. With the help of star beings, Mrs. Whatsits, and Mrs. Who, Meg and company travel through dark space-time wormholes to face the evil threatening the universe. Both Einstein and Steven Hawking believed wormholes were a kind of black holes made up of negative energy strings that in theory connect distant parts of the universe. Meg and her companions land on a planet immersed in the darkness where everyone was under control of IT, capital I, and T, a cold brain like disembodied intelligence that controls everyone-children even bounce their balls at the same time. IT hold’s Meg’s dad captive. Ok spoiler alert, I am going to tell the ending- Meg uses her faults to save the planet. Just as Meg was about to lose all her power to the pulsing power of IT, she remembers what the star-being Mrs. Whatsit told her, that it is her faults that will save her. What are her faults she wonders? She remembers she has been told at school that she is impatient, stubborn and often angry. In the face of danger, Meg’s anger gives her the clarity of right versus wrong, her impatience gives her courage, and her stubbornness gives her the willpower to escape IT’s hold. But her brother is left behind. At first she blames her dad, but with the help of the star being Ms. Whatsit, Meg goes back to the dark planet, and finds her brother consumed with hate while kneeling by the huge disembodied brain of IT. Despite all the mean things her brother is saying for IT, all she can feel is love. That’s when she realizes that she has what IT will never have and that is love. She keeps telling Charles how much she loves him until IT is defeated and Charles runs into her arms.

According to Engles, when we brave the darkness with our faults we discover what the darkness doesn’t have. That’s how Meg saved the world. We don’t spend much time talking about them, especially ours. If we talked about faults at all, it’s usually someone else’s, a co- worker, a boss, a teacher, and a friend. It’s harder to think about our own faults, let alone name them. We don’t spend much time talking about evil either, but its present in most children stories. In Snowwhite, evil is the envy of the witch, in Billy goat gruff it’s the troll’s greed, in Batman it’s the jokers cynicism. Can you think of any other examples? I think of the Balrog in Tolkien, the black cloud of denial that drags Gandalf into the abyss.

To be a wrinkle in time is to see the darkness we are facing and find the unused power of our faults to save the world. I am wondering if Meg’s story can be your story. If you can learn to unleash the limitations you have come to believe about yourself and claim your power? Can my perfectionism be turned into possibilities, my stubbornness to commitment? What faults of yours are waiting to be claimed? Can we cultivate from denial the insight of Gandalf, or from cynicism the goodness of Batman?

I invite you to shut your eyes and see all that you love about the earth, specific places, animals, fish, rivers, ponds, children, smells, colors, textures, be specific, and take your time, let them all dance before your eyes. Feel the joy, and feel their preciousness. Then claim the part of yourself that will protect them. From where does your power come? Imagine yourself doing so, and as you do be aware of what you’re feeling, let that feeling fill you ……and after a moment, and when you’re a ready, open your eyes and write that feeling down on a card. When I ask, please hold your card that was on your seat, and when I ask, please hold your card up and Marc will play all your feelings on his recorder, so that we may hear what our collective power that protects the world sounds like.

Engle through her character Mrs. Whatsit, tells us that life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedom, is like a sonnet, we are each given the form, but you have to write the sonnet, the poem yourself. May what you say, what you write, what you do, be written in the language of love that comes from the midst of darkness. This is the wrinkle that changes our experience of time. This is the marvel of life, rising for us to see and to know, out of our hearts, cry wonder, sing love so that we all may live.