by Vickie Machado
In the summer of 2011, upon graduating with my Bachelors from the University of Florida, I attended my first Eco-Stewards trip to Montana. The experience was unlike any other and it truly left me in awe. Finally, for the first time in my life, I found a group of people who loved both God and His Creation enough to devote themselves to it's care. It was as if I was stepping into a Mary Oliver poem, relearning how to pray:
Just--pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
It was certainly a doorway for me. But it was more than that, I was relearning how to discover God in His natural world alongside other Christians. For me this was huge! A doorway to a new world. It was Christians who questioned me, who told me to pray inside the box of the church, who noted that the outside world could be enjoyed but not admired and certainly not venerated. The Eco-Stewards invited me into a community, a church of believers who held that same passion, love, and energy for the environment, justice issues, and Christ. They brought the beauty back to worshiping. They tackled the difficult issues and accepted that some questions have many answers while others have none. I am grateful for their support and the love of life they put into every gathering, every adventure, every conversation, and every relationship. They have shaped my journey and strengthened my spirit time after time.
I am blessed to be in communion with these friends of God.
Read more about the Eco-Stewards Program: https://ecostewardsprogram.wordpress.com/