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A Message From Your Intern Minister: Earth in Motion

As the pilot's muffled voice crackled through the plane, announcing our descent, we lifted the window shade and let out a collective gasp as we gazed in awe at the fiery hues below. Throughout the Youth Service Trip to the Navajo Nation, I found myself humbled by the depths of canyons, the heights of rocks and mountains, and the sacred serenity of the horizon. In each moment of adventure and reflection, we were invited deeper into our experiences of joy, grief, and interconnectedness. In this unfamiliar place, we remembered our responsibility to the land and all life that shares this land. Now I face the question: how do I keep remembering? I am reminded of the opening words to Annie Zylstra’s chant, Blessed Motion, “I believed in solid ground until I saw the earth in motion. In the winds of steady change and in the ever-rolling ocean.” Perhaps remembering means witnessing the motion of the earth and resisting the view of the earth as reliably “solid.”

I am reminded of just how easy it is to forget that all that we know and all that we see isn’t all of what is, and certainly is not all that will be. The transformation is constant, and in its constancy, it can become invisible. Even as I walk through the woods, even as I feel a sense of connectedness to the earth, I too easily forget the depths of my relationship with the earth and my role in our relationship. How do I keep remembering? I think that this kind of remembering comes with noticing differences. When we arrived in Tuba City, Arizona, everything was new and different, so we had a chance to relate to our surroundings differently, and we noticed the sacredness. Similarly, the changing of the seasons calls us to notice our surroundings in a new light. Other times, though, it takes intention to remember, and I can’t think of a better way to mark this intention setting than our 40 for the Earth project. 

On Wednesday, March 13, our 40 for the Earth commitment began anew! This is a time when all of us in the First Church congregation are encouraged to take on a commitment to benefit the environment and slow climate change for 40 days, starting this month and ending April 22 (Earth Day). No matter what intention you set for these 40 days, what is most important, it seems, is that this change invites you into a different way of existing in the world. And with that difference, we can all be reminded of our relationship to this ever-transforming earth.

This Sunday, March 17th, all who went on the service trip will share some of the gifts we were offered in Navajo Nation, and in so doing, we will invite our community to remember, again, how we deepen our relationship with this land.

In community,


Intern Minister


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