St. Francis feeding a cardinal couple
at Turtle Rock Farm

Maybe it’s time to think again about ‘sanctuary.’ It’s not just the nave of a church; it’s a place of safety. Are the sweeping lawns of your church a safe place for divine creation? Can they become a true sanctuary, bursting with birdsong and native plants, protected forever from poisons and bulldozers? And after your church becomes a true sanctuary for divine creation, what about the lands owned by parishioners? Imagine a sanctuary movement of a different sort.

And what about this notion of ‘preaching to the choir’? Every week we come together to sing God’s praises. But what can we do to protect the songs of creation? Can the choir become the protectors of birdsong, the protectors of marshland rich with the calls of frogs? There are many kinds of music in the world. Is it enough to sing about them as they vanish? If those with beautiful human voices don’t act to protect the voices of the birds and the frogs, who exactly will?

Can an omnipotent being weep? Can we even begin to imagine the ferocity of divine grief when the last varied thrush vanishes or when the last flecks of colored fish fade from a coral reef? Can there be a dishonoring of God greater than this—to disregard the love of God for the small lives {God} has shaped with {God’s} hands? People of the church know how to spread the word of God. Spread this word—that the Earth is the Lord’s Creation and our work in the world is to keep it safe.

Moral Ground. Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson