How to do your part to save the world

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, April 25, 2024

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The Episcopal Church, like many other religious groups, has Major Holy Days and Minor Holy Days. Most folks are familiar with the Major Holy Days of Christianity, like Christmas and Easter. Yet, even within the Episcopal Church, many folks don’t know anything about our Minor Holy Days. And most, I’d be willing to bet, don’t know that on April 24, we set apart a Minor Holy Day to remember, discuss, and pray for all the victims of genocide throughout human history. I know this because we had a service Wednesday morning and not a single person knew about our Genocide Remembrance, nor were most people prepared in their hearts to take an hour out of their day to ponder the horrors of mass human extermination.

Why do we do this? Why do we take time to remember the horrors of the world, especially when we are still celebrating Easter and the signs of new springtime life? We do this because it’s important to confront the horrors of the world if we are ever going to leave them behind as a species. It’s easy in a world like ours to pretend that such things are a part of our collective past when we are so easily distracted by news, sports, entertainment, or just the general business of our daily lives. Yet, once we lift our head and gaze at the world, we are confronted with the specter of death still lingering over our planet.

My church calls us to remember these things so that we won’t pretend that the work of creating a more just and beautiful work is finished. In fact, it’s barely been tried at all!

If we are ever going to live in a world where we stop murdering one another, we must no longer pretend such things belong to another generation. We still brutalize each other, even if we have found more sophisticated ways to hurt our neighbors that don’t leave our hands as bloody. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It just doesn’t. I’m tired of believing that the world as it is must remain as it is. I’m tired of seeing a world on the brink of collapse when I know my son will inherit the mess we’ve created. Aren’t you? I want a future of hope. A future I can believe in. I want a future that bodes well for our planet and everything that lives, moves, and has its being on this fragile earth, our island home.

And since we can’t change the past, and we can’t control what’s happening on the other side of the earth, the only thing we can really do to make the future brighter is by choosing to passionately love and serve those we encounter day in and day out. The way we here in Washington play a part in saving the world is by ensuring that our beloved town is the most beautiful, holy, and loving community in the whole universe! Every time you step outside, make the decision to treat each person you meet with dignity and respect. Let love make demands of you, and live in such a way that all who meet you walk away thinking, “I’m so glad I saw them today!” It’s that simple, folks. Love without reservation. Let’s see what happens then.

Chris Adams is the Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.