In the spring of 2023, Columbia Theological Seminary hosted the conference “Just Creation: Shalom for Our Common Home.” The conference, focused on matters of environmental justice, brought together several hundred theologians, scientists, activists, and other concerned persons for three days of thoughtful engagement on contemporary environmental concerns and Christian responses to the injustices that are arising in a time of dramatic environmental degradation.
One of the highlights of the conference was the sermon preached by Dr. Jerusha Neal, Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School. That sermon, “Wade in the Water,” brought text and context together in ways that were deeply informed and even more deeply evocative. Indeed, because it was so powerful, CTS enabled access to the video of the worship service within which it was preached to be visible in front of the conference website paywall so that it could be more widely seen and shared.
When the editorial board for @ this point met to shape this edition of the journal, the decision to build around Dr. Neal’s sermon seemed obvious. Toward that end, we have not only provided the text of the sermon and a link to the YouTube video of the sermon, but an interview with Dr. Neal conducted by CTS’s own Peter Marshall Professor of Homiletics, Dr. Anna Carter Florence in which these two experts in the field discuss the crafts of sermon-writing and delivery during a time of climate crises. And to add further richness to the edition, we sought out five CTS graduates who attended the conference (and the worship service) to invite their reflections on Christian obligations towards environmental justice, especially as those obligations intersect with the deep rituals of the church.
We are delighted to be able to share these with you and are grateful to all those who contributed to the journal.
Professor of Christian Ethics and
Managing Editor of @ this point: theological investigations in church and culture