Today at Eucharist we are going to celebrate Earth Day! Theologian Elizabeth Johnson cites a passage from the Book of Job that captures the spirit of the day: “Ask the animals and let them teach you, the birds of the air will tell you the truth. Listen to the plants of the earth and learn from them: let the fish of the sea become your teachers.
Who among all these does not know that the hand of God has done this? In God’s hand is the soul of every living thing; in God’s hand is the breath of all humankind.” (Job 12: 7-10) It reminds me of Buddhism’s reverence for “all sentient beings.” Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, “God’s Grandeur” probably comes back to you:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
This poem reminds us of our responsibility to take care of our world home. Pope Francis opens his encyclical Laudato Si quoting Francis of Assisi saying our earth is like a sister whom we share our life with, like a mother who opens her arms to embrace us. Francis goes on to talk about pollution, of air and water and waste of food and waste of our natural resources and all the other problems we are all too familiar with. He also highlights how the poor and women and children suffer even more.
What can you and I do to help take care of our earth and ultimately each other? We have friends who have started a foundation that redistributes food. Every day they have a truck that goes to local supermarkets and picks
up food that is good but about to be discarded and they redistribute it to the needy. Another friend was horrified by the image of plastic bags as high as Mt. McKinley in our city dumps and has become so committed to recycling. We are resending the Creation Care Calendar that we sent at the beginning of Lent to further stimulate our thinking of what we can do to take care of our earth.
On a parallel note, we were greeted in this morning’s Sunday Globe with the front page story that Pope Francis on his return home from the refugee-filled Island of Lesbos brought 12 Muslim refugees (including six children) back to Vatican City with him as an example of how each of us can
play a part in welcoming the stranger. Is there anything that Spirit of Life can do to reach out to the refugee community? (It reminds me how timely it is that our charity for this fiscal quarter to whom we give 15% of
our weekly collection is the ministry of Roman Catholic Woman Priest Chava Redonnet. She ministers to the migrant worker community, the poor, the marginalized in Rochester, NY.) In short, what can we do to take care of our earth and each other?
At The Spirit of Life, we are seeking to truly become the transforming beings....open to the Spirit, and creators of “justice & joy” in our own lives, in our families and the world in which we live. Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to
respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world. We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing
edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey. We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life.
Our prayers are sent with love for your letting your light shine right around you, we can all do it together.
Ron & Jean