Climate + Faith Prayer Walk – 5

Stop 4 – Trees

Why are we talking about trees? Trees are a proven, affordable, natural climate benefit. Planting a tree is something that can be done today to help pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. How do you feel when you are among the trees? Listen to this poem from Mary Oliver.

When I Am Among the Trees a poem by Mary Oliver

READ John 3:14-21

John 3:16 is often said to be the Gospel story boiled down to a single verse. It’s a love story, and it’s worth noting that the verse doesn’t say God loved this religion or that one, or this sect or that one, but the whole world. For John, the poignant heart of the story is that Jesus dwells in the world, but “the world did not know him” (John 1:10). And yet God loves the world anyway.

This kind of generous love is also at the heart of humanity’s story, including our work – as steward, as gardener – to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the overheating of the planet. Indeed, part of what makes this problem so challenging is that it’s not only technical; it’s also cultural, and cultures are made of stories.


Are you ready for a challenge? Grab a notebook or tablet and try creating three versions of your climate story. Why do you care about taking care of God’s creation? Start with a story that’s three paragraphs long. Then write one that’s three sentences. And then challenge yourself to boil that story down to a single sentence. The big goal is to be able to share your story in many different situations.

  • Start with love: What are the places, experiences, and people you love and want to preserve?
  • Name your concern: On the basis of this love, pivot to your concern about the thickening blanket of pollution overheating the planet. What’s at stake?
  • Close with credible hope: Not Pollyanna optimism, but a credible kind of looking forward – and a call to action.


Northeast Ohio is losing nearly 100 acres of tree canopy each year, due to pests, diseases, a changing climate and human activity. Holden Forests and Gardens People for Trees Campaign has a goal to equip us to plant and care for at least 15,000 new trees throughout Northeast Ohio by 2025. Don’t have room for a tree? Sponsor a tree planting! Here are some resources to help us get started:

God of love and liberation, give us a vibrant spirit of hope and resolve. Help us to tell the story of your creation in ways that open up new avenues, new expressions of your love for the world. Help us to listen as creation groans, to heed the signs of the times. Shepherd us all forward in hope and love. Amen.

Towering Trees