It might mean imparting severe restrictions on plastic in your home, or committing to ecological restoration projects, or never buying another [“insert very strong expletive”] plastic bottle of water ever again, or getting a bus pass, or not flying, or learning to ride a bike in the rain, or joining the political sphere to advocate for better policies that will have a substantial effect on the health of our land, our flora and fauna, and our world.
We can’t just focus on our own little slice of life here in whatever home you have, in whatever neighborhood you live in. We NEED to focus on that, believe me, we do, but this mandate to lay our lives down for one another goes as far as making significant enough changes and personal hardships so that the non-westernized, non-industrialized people on low-lying islands aren’t consumed by rising tides, so that the plastic and acidification in our oceans that is killing them, KILLING them, is slowed and eventually reversed,
When we see that we are shepherds, when we see that we are intricately bound up with all life on this planet, when we see that we have agency and power in the current and future well-being of other life on this earth, then maybe we can begin to understand and to move toward laying down our lives for one another.
Laying our lives down for the life with which we are intricately bound. Which means laying our lives down for ALL life.
For all the keystone species across the world, like salmon and eel grass is here, like all the trees that keep us breathing, and the soil and water that keeps them growing, like the species on the verge of extinction, like refugees who are displaced due to severe weather events. Our actions here, from day to day, and year to year, has an affect on life near and far.
How will we use this life to do what we are called to do, to love one another?
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. It’s also Earth Day.
We have power, we have agency, and WE HAVE the Good Shepherd who has endless love, and endless compassion, and who gives of these unceasingly.
May we know this love. May we live it.
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down their life for the sheep.
 1 John 3:16-24 We know love by this, that Jesus laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a sibling in need and yet refuses help?
18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and God knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from God whatever we ask, because we obey the commandments and do what pleases God.
23 And this is God’s commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as we have been commanded.24All who obey the commandments abide in God, and God abides in them. And by this we know that God abides in us, by the Spirit that has been given to us.
 John 10:11-18 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down their life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as God in heaven knows me and I know God. And I lay down my life for the sheep.16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason God loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from God.’
 Psalm 23 A Psalm of David.
1 God is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 I have the freedom to lie down in green pastures; I am guided to still waters; 3 my soul is restored.
For God’s own sake am I led on right paths. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of God my whole life long.
 https://cei.org/content/environmental-protection-there-better-way, https://capitalresearch.org/article/greener-than-thou-the-american-left-takes-up-christian-environmentalism/, https://capitalresearch.org/article/greener-than-thou-the-american-left-takes-up-christian-environmentalism/
 https://capitalresearch.org/article/greener-than-thou-the-american-left-takes-up-christian-environmentalism/, from the original source, Watt, James. Ours Is the Earth. Saturday Evening Post (January/February 1982): 74-75.
 Ramsey, Boniface. Source: Harvard Theological Review, 76 no 3 Jul 1983, p 376