On Thanksgiving, many Americans of many cultures and traditions join in celebrating the abundance of the Earth that feeds and nurtures us all.
Yet we have just in the last few months suffered from Hyper-Hurricanes and dreadful wildfires that are flooding our communities — and all of Earth — with Floods of Fire and of Water. They have been caused or worsened by global scorching — by the climate crisis brought on by burning fossil fuels.
Still worse, the policies of Scott Pruitt, the present head of the Environmental Protection Agency, are pouring still more fuel and fury into these Floods of Fire and Water. His policies are turning the EPA into the Earth Poisoning Agency. For example, he has decided to destroy the CLEAN POWER PLAN, one of the most important steps the U.S. had taken to reduce carbon emissions.
On the other hand, we have just seen a wave of energy in the recent elections that made clear: Most Americans want to heal our country from hatred and injustice, and to heal our Mother Earth from the wounds of burning carbon. (The "two" arenas are interwoven, really one.)
Mr. Pruitt professes to be a person of religious faith. We urge that all of us speak a profound and sacred Truth to him and to each other: Our common home, our Mother Earth, and our own lives are not for burning.
To challenge EPA to prevent worse Floods of Fire and Water, Let’s FLOOD them with biblical and other sacred texts, prayers, objects, and pictures affirming the holiness of God’s Creation.
We [signatures below] are calling on all people of faith and on all who believe we have an ethical commitment to heal our Mother Earth, to write and send the EPA and its director passages from the Bible, Quran, prayer books, Encyclicals and similar Pronouncements by any and all Wisdom-Keepers, other sacred texts, and any relevant photos or objects, along with their own earnest, prayerful words.
We ourselves intend to discuss these concerns at our Thanksgiving dinner tables, and to invite each diner, right then and there, to write Mr, Pruitt our own messages. We invite and encourage you to do the same! We will gather these messages, and send them to --
The Shalom Center
c/o New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
1313 New York Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20005
Please be sure to mail them by November 26, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
We will gather these offerings and deliver them en masse to Mr. Pruitt with a prayerful vigil in December. (The specific day and time will be announced.)
We began working on this Call in honor of the Shabbat last month when in the Jewish rhythm of biblcal readings, we read the story of the Flood and of Noah’s work to save all life, Now we are inviting you — members of many diverse religious, spiritual, and eco-ethical communities — to join in this action of truly Giving Thanks..
Rabbi Katy Allen (Jewish Climate Action Network, Boston)
Rabbi Elliot Dorff (Rector and Professor, American Jewish University)
Dr. Mirele Goldsmith (Jewish Climate Action Network, NYC)
Rabbi Arthur Green (Rector, Rabbinical School of Hebrew College)
Rabbi David Ingber (Congregation Romemu)
Rabbi Raachel Jurovics (President, Ohalah: Association of Rabbis, Cantors and Rabbinic Pastors for Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling (Reconstructionist Rabbinical College)
Ruth Messinger (American Jewish World Service; Board, Hazon)
Rabbi David Shneyer (Congregation Am Kolel)
Rabbi Susan Talve (Central Reform Congregation, St Louis)
Rabbi Arthur Waskow (The Shalom Center)
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz ((Uri L'Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice)
Rabbi Rain Zohav (Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington)
[Signers are signing as individuals only; affiliations are mentioned for identification only.)
We are offering three suggestions for how to deal with this at your Thanksgiving meal and/or at your congregational service on Thanksgiving weekend. These suggestions are only that: We welcome your own creativity.
One is — For your Thanksgiving gathering, make multiple copies of the “Between the Fires” prayer below; begin your meal with the prayer and candle-lighting; share some conversation about the Earth and about giving active thanks for its abundance by working to end the climate crisis; invite each person to write their own letter to Mr. Pruitt on the reverse of the prayer, and to sign it with their address. Bundle them together and send to the address above, in Washington. Mail no later than November 26.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Between the Fires:
A Prayer for Lighting Candles of
Thanksgiving and Commitment
We are the generation that lives between the fires:
Behind us are the flame and smoke that rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima;
From the burning forests of the Amazon, from the hottest years of human history
That bring upon us melted ice fields, flooded cities, scorching droughts.
Before us is the nightmare of a Flood of Fire,
The heat and smoke that could consume all Earth.
"Here! The day is coming
That will flame like a furnace,“
Says the Infinite YHWH / Yahhhh,
The Breath of Life --
Yet for all who revere My Interbreathing Name,
a sun of justice will arise
with healing in its wings, its rays, its winds. . . .
“Here! Before the coming
of the great and awesome day
of YHWH/ the Breath of Life,
I will send you the Prophet Elijah
to turn the hearts of parents to their children
and the hearts of children to their parents,
lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction."
(Malachi 3: 19-20, 23-24.)
Here! We ourselves are ready to become Elijah
To turn the hearts of parents to their children
And the hearts of children to their parents
So that we do not bring upon ourselves this deadly day of smiting.
It is our task to make from fire not an all-consuming blaze
But the light in which we see each other fully.
All of us different, All of us bearing
We light these fires to see more clearly
That the Earth and all who live as part of it
Are not for burning.
We light these fires to see more clearly
The rainbow in the many-colored faces
Of all life.
Blessed is the One within the many.
Blessed are the many who make One.
[Light the candles.}
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Our second suggestion is that you might do what Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia is planning: To embody a story of water and covenant, and send the embodied story to Washington for the vigil at EPA. The story is at <https://www.uua.org/worship/words/story/higgins-drop-dream>, and here is what they plan to do:
Tabernacle United Church, at the suggestion of Eloise Chevrier, is planning next Sunday to make cutouts of water-drops (rain-drops, tear-drops) for everyone in the congregation. On one side they’ll write a concern/lament; on the other, a dream (about climate, of course) The drops will be strung on a clothesline, with a big cutout of a bucket that has the story on it, and the whole thing sent to NY Avenue Presbyterian Church at the address above … Then two people could carry the clothesline with all the drops from the church in Washington to the EPA.
And third, we suggest you invite your companions in Thanks Giving to write their own sacred words, share their own sacred offerings.