Surely I'd have a wider group of people to unite with for the sake of conservation if the vision was simply to "live into community with all that has life" minus the "rooted in relationship with God" part and minus the "Jesus" part.
But the truth is, I don't see these variables simply as "parts" of the picture. Rather, living in relationship with God and committing to follow the example of Jesus are the relational foundation through which inner strength for sustainable change is found. It all has to start with God because God is the great visionary and empowerer.
Just telling each other what we need to be doing is not enough. We need the power of God at work among us and within us.
Part of the problem is that we have become so bound up by our own habits and we continue to live as participants in systems that use and abuse natural resources and other forms of life at an alarming rate.
I don't know about you so I'll only speak for myself; every time I've attempted to make a change for good but left God out of it I've failed; but when I attempt to do it with the help of God there is an inner strength that is empowering.
We need to make a change, and the change starts with each of us. But it can't simply be about changing a behavior. That won't last.
We need the wisdom and strength that only God can give. We need to welcome the hope of a resurrected (new and transformed) way of living that begins with the transformation of our own minds and hearts as we trust in the power of God's love.
I have this hope because I believe that Jesus took on the world exactly as we experience it every day; he remained faithful in his love for God and others and he suffered to the point of death becuase of it; but the power of God's love is so strong that even the sin (failure to love) of corrupt human social systems and death itself could not stop what God was doing in and through Jesus.
One thing that the story of Jesus tells me is that if this is God's vision (that we should be empowered to live into community with all that has life) then there is nothing that can stop it.
I nurture my relationship with God every day because I'm thankful to be alive in a world filled with so much goodness and beauty and because I want to continue to experience a transformation of my own mind and heart.
Inward transformation leads to outward changes in the way we relate to our neighbors.
An example to follow.
Empowerment to live my best life.
Hope that is unstoppable.
As we trust in God following the example of Jesus, living into community with all that has life, for the sake of peace among people and peace between people and everything else that has life we will find ourselves tapping into a hope beyond all hope, a life beyond our broken lives of today, and a love that never fails.
(A picture given to me as a gift from some of the kids at church)