In light of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this week, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the need for an eco-reformation. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is putting some focus on this idea this year, and a book entitled Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril (eds. Lisa E. Dahill and Jim B. Martin-Schramm) addresses this topic with chapters from a range of ecotheologians. While the Protestant Reformation occurred as a response to the context of Luther’s day, an eco-reformation would respond to the context of our day. The Protestant Reformation expanded our understanding of our faith and who is included in its proclamation; an eco-reformation expands our understanding of salvation history even further, recognizing that God is at work in all creation, weaving together a story of salvation history that includes not only humanity but also the rest of God’s creation.
What might an eco-reformation look like in the context of your church, your watershed? What might it look like in your preaching, liturgy, and education offerings? What might it look like in your understanding of your church’s connection to your community and world? How might we respond to the urgent context in which we live, allowing the Holy Spirit to reignite the fire of reformation? Will the established churches of our time have what it takes to do the work of recognition, repentance, and re-formation or transformation required to meet the needs of this time and place?
Norman Habel offers a chapter in the book Eco-Reformation entitled “Ninety-Five Eco-Theses,” encouraging us toward semper reformanda (always reforming), to learning how to be creatures of this Earth, preaching a gospel that is good news to the poor and disenfranchised, with humility to learn from those who are better caretakers of the planet than most of us in the Western tradition, and learning how to serve alongside the Christ who chose embodiment. As we look back on this milestone in our collective history, may we also look forward toward eco-reformation, learning how to be disciples of Jesus in each of our watersheds.