21

April 2024

Apr

We Abide in Christ

How Shall We Live

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B

Our final week in the series, “How Shall We Live?” calls us to live out the love and joy we have found in our life in Christ.

Our final week in the series, “How Shall We Live?” calls us to live out the love and joy we have found in our life in Christ. Images and videos for this week will display how people live out their faith in the world. Throughout the series, if your congregation has been creating something together or watching something bloom together, this week will be the culmination of that process. If a new hanging has been produced, a blessing of that hanging for use in worship would be appropriate. If plants have grown and bloomed or have come close to blooming, a congregational picture after worship with the plants would be a beautiful way to remember the day. Sending copies of the photo could extend your reach to any who are not able to be in worship in person.

Even more than the two weeks prior, this week, a theme of people living in harmony with other species and parts of the natural world will come forth. Our actions convey love to others when we live in harmony with respect and care. Our actions bring joy to our communities and to communities that share the planet, even if they are far from us geographically, when we put our faith in God into action toward peace and justice. From the opening prayer with images of gardens grown to feed and nourish to the children’s message in which each child represents part of the puzzle of this world where we live, and the sermon illustrations telling the story of activists motivated by their faith to work for justice in the world, this worship service is a call to action for all who are called by God, even though each person’s actions will be unique.

It might be appropriate on this day to schedule a “mission moment” in the worship service to highlight a mission activity of your church or a nonprofit organization active in your community with an invitation for congregation members to get involved in a new way to put faith into action. A youth group might present a display or offering from a fundraiser they have recently collected during a mission project. Inviting various groups within the church to share their service projects from the past year during fellowship time after worship might also be an effective way to highlight the ways that faith is already being put into action in your context.

It’s also important to note that putting our faith and love into action, as 1 John suggests, is not only an act of charity or an act of duty. It is a way of living out the love and joy that we experience when abiding in Christ with our whole selves. Sometimes charity can perpetuate injustice when it is done “to” people understood to be outside the community. Instead, the challenge for us today is to seek to be in community with, to be transformed by, and to be dependent on others, in mutual relationship.

Rev. Laura Baumgartner, Seattle, WA (ancestral homelands of the Duwamish and Coast Salish peoples), is an elder in the Pacific Northwest Conference, serving Haller Lake United Methodist Church. She also is on the Worship Team of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement.


Bulletin Insert

“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action” (1 John 3:18).

Join other parents to advocate for opportunities for students to experience nature firsthand, including school gardens and field trips for a deeper immersion into the natural world. Invite your child to talk about the adventures and name them as part of the wonder of God’s gift and call to us to be good stewards.

Invest in the future, not the past. Your bank account, insurance, or stock portfolio may be supporting the fossil fuel industry. Find out what businesses benefit from your money. If they do not align with your values, divest. Change banks, insurance companies, or stockbrokers and tell them why. Money talks, and corporations listen.

Pipelines carrying oil and natural gas are notorious for the damage they can cause (8,000+ incidents since 1986). New pipelines perpetuate dependence on fossil fuels. Indigenous people are often on the frontlines protesting and drawing attention to the danger. Learn about the locations, expenses, environmental costs, and the justice issues related to each line. Speak up to stop the harm.

Spend your money where it makes a difference. Even small “investments” (such as purchases of organic food and items that are not plastic) count, as well as any other outlay of your money, time, or effort that contributes to a healthier planet and to justice for all who live here.

For the sake of a better future, tackle a big project, such as advocating for the school bus fleet to be electrified, or the roof of the school—or church—to host solar panels, or multiple trees to be added to the campus. Big projects take time and commitment, but they have big dividends for the future and bring multiple opportunities to talk about caring for Creation.

Not by choice, 68 percent of Black Americans live within thirty miles of a coal-fired power plant. As a frontline community, they suffer greater ill health and shorter life expectancy as well as lower property values and fewer economic resources because of the predatory practices of the fossil fuel industry. Write or call your legislators to support renewable and non-polluting energy sources.

Whatever you do to care for God’s Creation and for justice is important and needed. But changing big systems is also crucial. Voting season is upon us. Vet your candidates for their commitments to addressing climate-change-related issues—especially justice for those most adversely affected.

When you are spring cleaning and realize you no longer need something, resist the temptation just to toss! Instead, take the time to find a place to donate. Your efforts avoid adding to landfills and to the resulting air, water, and land pollution and to the injustice suffered by people close to the landfill.

Put responsibility where it belongs. Some environmental actions are the obligation of us as individuals. Others are the onus of corporations, businesses, and governments. All of us are accountable for our actions and non-actions for the areas for which we have responsibility. Know the Top Twelve Actions for everyone.

When you talk to friends or family about climate-related issues, focus on solutions more than problems. Share what you are already doing and encourage your family and friends to do at least one more thing themselves for the planet and for justice.

Crys Zinkiewicz is from Nashville, TN (ancestral homeland of the Cherokee Tribe). She is on the Communications Team for the UM Creation Justice Movement. She is a United Methodist EarthKeeper, and part of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference Creation Care Ministry Team.


Contributors

We are so thankful to have members of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement contribute to our worship resources for this series. You can find a full list of contributors below:

Rev. Laura Baumgartner

  • Seattle, WA (ancestral homelands of the Duwamish and Coast Salish peoples)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement
  • Elder in the Pacific Northwest Conference, serving Haller Lake UMC

Rev. Laurie Bayen

  • Cotati, CA (ancestral homelands of the Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok peoples)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement
  • Elder in the California-Nevada Annual Conference, serving Windsor Community UMC

Rev. Richenda Fairhurst

  • Ashland, Oregon (homeland of the Shasta and Takelma peoples)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement
  • Climate Chaplain

Rev. Paul Mitchell

  • Walla Walla, WA (ancestral homelands of the Cayuse, Umatilla, Palus, and Walla Walla)
  • Senior Pastor at Pioneer United Methodist Church
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement, UM EarthKeeper
  • Elder in Full Connection in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference

Carolyn Nichols

  • Maryland (ancestral lands of the Susquehannock and Piscataway peoples)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement
  • Layperson, Epworth Chapel UMC in the Baltimore-Washington Conference

Rev. Fernando P. Sanchez

  • O’Donnell, TX (ancestral homeland of the Jumanos, Comanche, and Lipan Apache peoples)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement
  • Elder in the Northwest Texas Conference, serving First UMC, O’Donnell

Rev. Kristina Sinks

  • Evanston, IL (ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi, Odawa (Ottawa) and Ojibwe Tribes)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement
  • Provisional Deacon in the California-Nevada Annual Conference

Rev. Mark Terwilliger

  • York, PA (ancestral homelands of the Susquehannock peoples)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement, UM EarthKeeper
  • Elder in the Susquehanna Annual Conference, serving Asbury York UMC

Rev. Nancy Victorin-Vangerud

  • Minneapolis, MN (ancestral homeland of the Dakota peoples)
  • United Methodist Creation Justice Movement, UM EarthKeeper
  • Retired Elder in the Minnesota Annual Conference

Crys Zinkiewicz

  • Nashville, TN (ancestral homeland of the Cherokee Tribe)
  • UM Creation Justice Movement, Communications Team, UM EarthKeeper
  • Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference Creation Care Ministry Team

In This Series...


Second Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • White

In This Series...


Second Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes