Aware of the perils and the suffering that weigh upon humanity and the planet, we do not want to give in to fear and resignation.And yet a fine human hope is constantly threatened by disenchantment. Economic difficulties which are increasingly burdensome, the sometimes overwhelming complexity of societies, and helplessness in the face of natural disasters all tend to stifle the fresh shoots of hope.(Brother Alois, Letter 2012 – Towards a New Solidarity)
With Jesus Christ, the Son of God comes into our world and, in many ways, overturns our image of God. By his life, his Passion and Resurrection, in his Gospel, he fulfilled the First Testament, which finds in him its full meaning. Where we would expect to see a Son of God in glory, he comes to earth as a child in a manger; he stands at the Jordan to be baptized, among those who await salvation; he eats with sinners and even on the Cross he is able to love and forgive.
In the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, this spirit is present: "Blessed are you, the poor: the Kingdom of God is yours" (Luke 6:20). And he tells us: "Truly I say to you, whenever you did it to one of these least, who are my brothers and sisters, you did it for me!" (Matthew 25:40).
The world is filled with many uncertainties today. It can be harrowing for many people especially our young brothers and sisters. Will I have a job after school? Will there be stability where I live? What will the climate changes imply? Will this violence ever stop? These are questions commonly asked by many in our world. Situations and circumstances may be difficult but if we stand together and stand strong in the knowledge that nothing can ever come between us and the love of Christ, this will empower us to face these uncertainties head on.(Rev. Dr Olav Fykse-Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, message for the European meeting in Berlin)
When I take a look of what is happening around us (economic crises, natural disasters, etc.), I feel distressed. I want to help but I cannot do so. Then I remember what God assured: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11). So let me have patience. God isn’t finished yet. He knows what is going on. He knows what’s best. I have to let go and put my hope and trust in God. He will take care of everything: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) He loves each one of us. All I can do is simply pray for them and trust in him!
Solidarity must not only be the slogan of some political parties, but a promise that engages the whole person both on the level of action as well as that of prayer, feeling, and compassion. This is, indeed, the basis of the Gospel message that links the believer, not only with his or her Creator, but also with all creation.(Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, message for the European meeting in Berlin)
I always felt that I belong to nature. I am the observer and admirer, the lucky one to experience so much beauty in this world. I believe that everything that exists on this planet Earth comes from the same source, the source of Love. That’s where I am coming from too. There is this secret connection uniting us all, the loving energy flowing through all humans, animals, plants. It binds us together so there is no escape. Unfortunately we are too confident that we’re the kings of this world, but no human being would exist without Mother Nature’s help. I believe that the earth does not depend on me as much as I depend on it. And the only thing I can do for this world is not to hurt it more than I already did. I want to be in peace with it, be more aware, take more steps to protect the environment, no matter how small they are. Earth is beautiful and it is a present given for us to take care of.
The upheavals of the world economy pose questions for us. The geopolitical balance of power is changing. Inequalities are growing. The securities of yesterday have proven they no longer hold today. Could this be a reason to reflect more on the choices we make for our lives?(Brother Alois, Letter 2012, note 3)
Food is an essential topic and one of the biggest issues in the United States right now: Where does it come from? How is it grown? Who gets to eat it?
I have always kept a little vegetable garden. My family and especially my grandfather taught me most of everything I know about gardening, e. g. how to grow tomatoes. For me, it is a form of meditation, the fascination of seeing life slowly coming up out of nothing. I see a link to Jesus’ parables that often come from farming.
And moreover, I do it for very practical reasons: I can choose a little bit what to eat, I do not pollute the earth through transportation or pesticides, and last but not least, I am of course fairly paid for my own labor. I know that some churches support community gardens in many cities: special places where people can grow food sustainably.