When my kids were little, one of our favorite story collections was Frog and Toad. In one story, Toad receives seeds from Frog and is surprised when they don’t immediately grow.
Frog tells Toad, “Leave them alone for a few days. Let the sun shine on them, let the rain fall on them. Soon your seeds will start to grow.”
But Toad exhausts himself, yelling at the seeds, commanding them “Grow!” Eventually so tired of exerting himself, he dozes off. And, while he sleeps, the seeds poke through the earth.
“And now you will have a nice garden too,” Frog says.
“It was very hard work,” Toad says.
Are we a little like Toad? Working hard? Exhausting ourselves by yelling and encouraging growth and then finding things grow without us, or even in spite of us?
In this month’s issue you’ll find many calls encouraging us to grow. The topic of climate justice fits nicely with the month of April, a time for planting.
As you use this issue, use humor, as we did in this month’s Bible study, “What Is the Good Life?” a skit written by me and the Rev. Kathleen Stone. Follow up on this skit by watching the webinar from National Seminar at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/climate-justice. Encourage your circle or unit to follow the 13 Steps to Sustainability found on that webpage.
Don’t forget to order the 2016 mission study Climate Justice: A Call to Hope and Action to prepare for this summer’s Mission u. This resource, like all United Methodist Women resources, is not just for teachers and students at our beloved summer mission schools: every member should read and talk about the timely mission studies.
Get mad and get involved. Use healthy anger to build a coalition, like Beryl Thurman does on Staten Island. Read about her challenges in “Toxins from A to Z.” Learn as well from our international sisters and support their advocacy to improve the conditions of children, families and workers in “Latin America’s Struggle for Environmental Justice” by Paul Jeffrey. This is an eye-opening and in-depth look at how some profit from racism and exploitation in the extractive industries.
Celebrate Crossroads Urban Center, one of our nearly 100 mission institutions, which forges coalitions across many faiths (or no faiths) to improve its Salt Lake City, Utah, neighborhood when you read “Help and Change” by Jim West.
As we set out to grow our gardens of hope, remember the legacy of your own mothers. When I was little, my mother would talk to her beautiful jungle of houseplants. She believed a kind word couldn’t hurt. (The television show Mythbusters even confirmed that talking to plants may improve their growth.) Just as the first Earth Day in 1970 led to U.S. policy changes, including the Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps our love for God’s creation will foster fruits of environmental justice.