The ELCA and other churches have adopted the tradition of observing the Sunday closest to Earth Day as “Creation Sunday” (or Care of Creation Sunday).
To some this no doubt seems like another in a long line of mainline capitulations to political correctness. The reality, though, is that care for God’s creation should be a central component of Christian faith.
You can read the ELCA’s social statement on the environment, which is actually pretty good as this kind of document goes, here.
After setting forth the theological vision of creation, sin, and redemption, the statement asks church members to commit themselves to a series of principles:
– participation: recognizing the right of all people and all creatures to have their interests taken into consideration;
– solidarity: acknowledging our interdependence with all other people and the rest of creation;
– sufficiency: giving priority to meeting the basic needs of all human beings and other creatures;
– sustainability: providing an adequate standard of living for present generations without compromising the well-being of future ones.
The statement further asks Lutherans to commit to upholding these principles as individuals and congregations, in personal lifestyle changes and in advocacy in the private and public spheres.
The anthropocentric orientation of much traditional theology and religious practice needs to be replaced by a properly theocentric orientation that roots the human community firmly in the soil of the created world. And the gospel, far from being a privatized message of individual deliverance from the world, is a message of freedom from anxious self-seeking that turns us back toward the needs of the world around us.