The newly-formed Creation Care Team is working to incorporate our environmental commitment into all aspects of parish life—worship, education, building and grounds, discipleship at home and work, and public ministry.
Lutherans have strong theological foundations for caring for creation. Here are five reasons why Lutherans practice Creation Care:
1. Theology: Lutherans have a creation-centered theology oriented to celebrate the gifts of creation. We affirm God as creator of all things. We have a deeply incarnational theology that cherishes the presence of God in all reality. We see redemption as the restoration of creation, indeed as “new creation.” We see the future as straining toward the fulfillment of creation.
2. Cross and Resurrection: The theology of the cross leads us to be in solidarity with the human situation in all its pain and agony. Our theology of the cross gives us solidarity with “creation groaning in travail.” Our affirmation of resurrection offers hope for new life in this world.
3. Worship and Sacraments: Lutheran sacramental theology claims that the “finite can bear the infinite.” Christ is in, with, and under ordinary elements like grapes and grain. Our worship invites us into transforming encounters with God deep in the flesh and in the world. We are called to worship God with creation.
4. Ecclesiology: We are called in our human vocation “to serve and to preserve” the Earth. We understand that the church exists for the sake of the world, especially now in this time of ecological crisis that affects all living things. We do not have an escapist theology. When Luther was asked what he would do if he knew the world would end tomorrow, he replied, “Plant a tree.”
5. Ethics: We Lutherans have a contextual, incarnational (yet non-relativistic) ethic that is not built on rules that can be confining and enslaving. We are free to address new and complex situations, such as the environmental state of the world. We do so not as ones who dominate and exploit but as servants to our human and non-human neighbors. And we do so not out of fear or guilt or shame or arrogance but out of gratitude and grace.
Adapted from the ELCA program Lutherans Restoring Creation. For more information see: www.elca.org/caringforcreation.