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Choosing Life

July 13, 2009

LOUISVILLE

In keeping with Sunday evening’s theme — “Wonder of Creation” — at the Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women, Barbara Rossing spoke of the enchantment of waking to the song of a bird, gazing at a waterfall or watching a child discover a new creature.

But is all well with the world we cherish? As Rossing described the failing health of the earth, she reminded the audience, “The cruelest injustice of climate change is that it hurts the poor — those who have done the least to cause the problem — the hardest ... As Christians, we should be concerned about that.”

Recalling Deuteronomy 30:19, Rossing challenged the listeners with the urgency of choice. God says to the people, “(C)hoose life so that you and your descendents may live.”

Rossing reminded the crowd that “choosing life” means living in a more sustainable way.

She also reflected that the time to choose life is now.

“We are living in an urgent moment ... a ‘kairos moment,’” Rossing said, defining a kairos moment as “when your whole life comes to a focus, an urgent moment in time.”

She pointed out that even in this week, those at the Gathering are at a kairos moment — a turning point.

In fact, Rossing said that the whole world is standing at a turning point, an “urgent kairos moment for God’s creation.”

As people consider how to work for renewable energy, sustainable food economies and the revitalization of local communities, Rossing asked, “How will we, our churches and our world, lead? How will we face this moment ... and how will our church inspire the world to take action, choosing the path of life?”

Rossing credited the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with “what is probably the most visionary statement on energy use and climate change of any U.S. church, a statement called The Power to Change, that commits your church to ambitious goals for climate change advocacy and reductions in carbon emissions, for the sake of the healing of the world.”

As we work to correct the wrongs of the past, the climate crisis can be an opportunity for evangelism, Rossing said. A church in Delaware put 180 solar panels on its roof, and because of this, new people were drawn to the church. A Seattle church brought hybrid cars to its energy fair. Many other churches are drinking fair-trade coffee and advocating for stronger clean energy and green jobs legislation in Congress.

Rossing, author of the 2010–11 Horizons Bible study on the book of Revelation said she believes “the book of Revelation can help us find the healing we need ... Revelation’s images of renewal and healing — the river of life, the tree of life, the shepherding Lamb who wipes away our tears — these beautiful images can give us vision and courage today, as we stand ready to cross over into a new future.

“We stand at a crossing point, a kairos moment for our world. In little and big ways, each day, we are called to make choices that affect the whole creation,” she said. “This moment really matters. Therefore ‘choose life,’ God tells us, ‘so that you and your descendents may live.’”

To read more stories from the 2009 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women, including one about the recent vote to approve incorporation, visit the Gathering Web site.

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