As I turned to today’s morning lectionary readings, the psalmist spoke back to me of the Earth rejoicing and heaven proclaiming God’s righteousness: “Fire goes before him…his lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord.” – Psalm 97
These words, after yesterday’s historical flooding and it’s resulting chaos and widespread devastation across this province, carry a particular ironic tension with them. How do we rejoice today? The Earth groans, the waters rise up, our proverbial chickens are coming home to roost. The effects of climate change are literally cutting us off from one another across this province.
I know there are people in your parish communities, neighbourhoods and in your own families who are being affected by this storm and the damage it has brought with it. I hope you will find ways to reach out, from near or far, to offer what you can, including your prayers.
Please pray particularly for the people of Abbotsford, Lytton, Merritt and Princeton. Three months after the fires, this must feel like more than those communities can endure. Here on Vancouver Island, we are holding up the Cowichan Valley communities. I have been in touch with our parishes in the region to offer our support and have asked that they too reach out to their neighbours, including the Cowichan Tribes. With the damage to the Malahat, the week will not be business as usual for many, and across our islands and inlets, many are navigating power outages, property damage and disruption of mobility. We are all affected in some way.
In the days ahead let us reach out to our neighbours in compassion. In the months and years ahead let us repent of our complicity in the systems that have brought such devastation to the climate and recommit ourselves (in word and action) to safeguarding the integrity of God’s creation.
The Right Rev Anna Greenwood-Lee
Download a printable copy of this letter below.
The bishops of the five dioceses that make up the ecclesiastical province of BC and Yukon also issued a joint pastoral letter. Read it here.