At the 2013 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Ottawa, it was decided to add a question to the baptismal service. At the moment, when all who are gathered as witnesses to the baptism, are renewing their own Baptismal covenant everyone is asked, “Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth?”
The Baptismal covenant is the Apostles’ Creed and our modern liturgy for Baptism added five, now six questions. However, these six extra questions are not so much about belief as they are about actions. What actions and behaviors do we expect of ourselves as the gathered Body of Jesus Christ? Not that we will be perfect, but that we will try. We respond, therefore, with a hearty, “I will, with God’s help.”
The growing edge of the Church today is recapturing an ancient sense that we are stewards of creation, caretakers of this blue, green, ice capped blessing. It’s the only home we have and we share it with every other living creature.
We can’t let it be just words on a page when we say that we will respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth. To have respect for the Earth is to have a feeling of deep admiration for its beauty, diversity and power. To be committed to sustain the Earth is to make decisions and take actions to help strengthen or support the Earth. To renew the Earth is to do all that we can to help make the Earth like new, so that it is, once again, fresh, vigorous and perfect. “I will, with God’s help.”