This April 22 is the world's 50th Earth Day! Earth Day is a reminder and an opportunity to bring the deep wisdom of our traditions to bear on the need to repair our relationships with Earth and each other today.
For those of you wishing to commemorate this day with a sermon, here are some resources we hope will help.
Preaching on Climate Change: 10 Considerations
From Rev. Jim Antal's book Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018):
Start with shared values. Don’t start with science, with fear, or the headlines.
Acknowledge ambivalence. While it may seem counterintuitive, acknowledging diverse priorities invites everyone to come along with you, regardless of whether climate destabilization is something they already care or know much about.
Cite one fact, not a bunch of science, and give a clear takeaway. When listening to a sermon, people are more likely to be affected by values, moral narratives, and imagery than by data.
Keep it simple. Tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you told them!
- Tell a story that invites people to recognize our shared humanity and mutual interests.
- Embrace Jesus’ most frequent admonition: “Fear not!” In the context of a world disordered by unchecked fear, greed, and growth, what is God’s Good News? Preach on that.*
Lead your congregation to recognize that the time to act is NOW. As in most situations, when there is no deadline, people delay action indefinitely.
- Because our brains are not suited to deal with threats that are distant or abstract, speak of climate disruption in ways that make it local, personal, and immediate.
Claim your moral leadership as a member of the clergy and speak to our moral duty to take immediate action using solutions that are already available.
- Show your congregation how facing climate destabilization will not diminish the quality of our lives, but how living in more just, loving, fair, and life-sustaining ways will make our lives more purposeful and faithful.
*Antal writes from a Christian perspective, but leaders from all traditions can connect a sermon about climate to the core teachings of your religion.
Sermons for Inspiration
Guardians of the Earth, Rabbi Mark Kaiserman, Temple Emanu-El (Livingston, NJ)
Global Warming and the Qur'an, Dr. Metwalli B. Amer, Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (Sacramento, CA)
Grounded in Resilience: Born for the Storm, Rev. Kurt A. Kuhlwald, First Unitarian Church of Oakland (Oakland, CA)
Honor Thy Mother, Rev. Salvatore Sapienza, Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ (Douglas, MI)
- Find even more Earth Day sermons here
And remember: tell us about your plans by clicking the blue button above!
Knowing how your community is taking action, helps us:
see the impact of our work, demonstrate it to funders,
and share great ideas with our community of supporters.
We will mail a free copy of the Earth Friendly Household (chock full of Michigan-specific
sustainability info) by Adarsa Antares to the first 10 people we hear from.