12 Powers for Our Planet - Zeal

Welcome to the EarthCare Module on "Zeal."
EarthCare - ZealUnit Focus: Zeal is that delicious spiritual power that animates and invigorates us. Zeal gives us power to move forward with projects and even difficult challenges. Nature provides countless demonstrations of the power of zeal – feisty hummingbirds sparring for territory in the honeysuckle, puppies romping and wrestling for the pure fun of it, rivers carving rock s they zealously follow gravity toward the ocean. Zeal is what empowers spiritual activism and the ongoing efforts to make our world a better place for all beings.
The spiritual power of Zeal is our Divine design and power to save us from apathy. As we grow from the light of our awareness of God as Source we are invigorated with ideas and enthusiasm to persist through what appears as failures. Zeal moves us, glittering through our mind, body and spirit as power designed and working for a divine purpose: life, flourishing life. The natural world is abundant with exuberant demonstrations of zeal and aliveness. 
Unit Learning Objectives
By the end of this module learners will be able to:
  • Demonstrate understanding of ZEAL as a spiritual principle.
  • Identify links between ZEAL as spiritual principle and the human interaction with nature and the whole of creation. 
  • Integrate the spiritual principle of ZEAL as related to Earth/Creation care into Unity services and teachings.


Christ awareness of my oneness with God reveals my Zeal to live, be, and do! I am in wonder and awe of our planet and the miraculous diversity and abundance of creatures it supports. In each and every day I am empowered to do that which is mine to do to care for creation. 
“Everything old has passed away; see everything has become new.” –2Cor. 5:17

Creator. Birther of all. One Presence, One Power. Dear Mother Father God.  Reveal as me the power to rise up and live with fresh resolve and enthusiasm to care for all life.  Be as me the unwavering power to make life sustaining decisions. Teach me to see the power of life glittering within and all around me that I might glitter with zeal in reply.

Zeal, Our Divine Design
By Rev. Kathy Harwood Long

Each human can describe zeal when remembering enthusiastic ‘states’ of mind and the power we felt. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes this state as “a strong excitement” but the Greeks thought of this state as one of divine possession. Long ago the term was confined to a belief in religious inspiration, or to intense religious fervor or emotion (Wikipedia), but today we can discern evidence of zeal as a principle at work in all creation, not just in humans.  

Robin Wall Kimmerer, a mother, scientist, decorated Professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, describes in her book, Gathering Mosses, the persistent power of life in the lowly mosses found across the planet, from deserts to Antarctica. Her study of a specific moss, Schistostega pennata, that grows in a shoreline cave reveals a creature which, like humans, is dependent on light. Every filament of the individual moss cells cling to rocks rather like webbing, interconnected and seen only when flashes of sunlight are captured by the chlorophyll and converted into life giving energy. At rare times each year the sun’s light angles for rays to pierce deep into the cave.  When it does, every cell of Schistostega erupts in a “shower of sparkles, like green glitter spilled on a rug at Christmas.”  This glittering, like a zealous state, generates life. Wall Kimmerer writes,“...Its life and ours exist only because of a myriad of synchronicities that bring us to this particular place at this particular moment. In return for such a gift, the only sane response is to glitter in reply.” 

Humans can find inspiration in the model of green life which starts from the ground up, or clings to the groundedness of rocks like Schistostega pennata. We also grow due to a source of power greater than self; it is the light of God awareness flickering and glittering through our mind and heart.  Zeal is our Divine design and power to save us from apathy. As we grow from the light of our awareness of God as Source we are invigorated with ideas and enthusiasm to persist through what appears as failures. Zeal moves us, glittering through our mind, body and spirit as power designed and working for a divine purpose: life, flourishing life. 

Kimmerer mentions mosses surviving and thriving in zero-gravity environments. We also can thrive in a world where humans compromise the health of the earth, its creatures, and our air quality. We can spring up from the weight of worry and do what is ours to do, glittering in the power of Zeal and enthusiasm. Each growing effort to care for creation, each ounce of energy we feel, each guiding light idea, is within a network of uncountable ‘others’ (human and non-human) at work as Oneness.  Our only possible response as divine creations is to “glitter in reply”, a communion of divinely possessed and protected creation. 

Lesson Engagement

EC - Sunday - ZealThis pre-recorded talk is available for your personal use or for viewing in your congregation (in-person or online). The speaker is Rev. Russell Heiland. He can be reached here.

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Love-Self-DirectedContent by Rev. Russell Heiland

Click here to access the MicroLearning

EC-YFM-LoveContent by Rev. Kathy Harwood Long & Rev. Liesa Chase

EC-Eco-ZealFishers for generations, the Becerra family decided to switch professions after an encounter with a sea turtle in their bathtub. Cosme Becerra had caught the turtle for it to be eaten as part of a festival. However, the cries of the captured turtle left a harrowing impression on him and his wife. They decided to release it back into the wild. This started the journey of the Becerra family into conservation work, and as of writing, they have caught, documented, and released 814 Green Sea turtles and Olive Ridley sea turtles. Due to zeal for these extraordinary creatures, the entire family has switched from careers in fishing to careers in conservation.

Love Thy Nature, multiple award-winning film by Sylvie Rokab. 

Passion for this Earth, by David Suzuki, et al. 
Journalists, scientists, writers and environmentalists have taken their enthusiasm for David Suzuki's philosophy and funneled it into their own personal recollections, manifestos, and essays: Rick Bass describes his love for the Yaak Valley in Montana; Richard Mabey takes readers to a moonlit May evening in Suffolk; David Helvarg tells us of a stirring seaside memory from his childhood. No matter what journey these writers take us on, the unifying theme of their work is always the same: a deep and abiding love of nature -- inspired and shared by David Suzuki.

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy 

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” – Romans 12:11

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a might faith to do the things that are to be done by me today!” – Charles Fillmore