“One of the reasons we’re destroying the planet is that it has lost its sacred dimension for us. The planet as given to us by science is a physical reality essentially meaningless in itself. It’s a resource for our physical activity.”
—Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth
Centuries ago science overtook faith as reality. The wisdom of the ancients tied the sacredness of our earth and of nature to a power beyond the understanding and reasoning of mankind. But man’s arrogance demanded an answer to all questions and the discovered explanations which they accepted denied the sacredness of Creation. The earth has become just another vehicle for our selfish endeavors.
Years ago when living in Pennsylvania, it was a short Sunday afternoon drive to the mountaintops of the state’s share of the Appalachian Trail. An autumn trip on interstate 81 provided spectacular color and views of the surrounding countryside.
Unfortunately easy access to this mountain interstate also provided to the city of Philadelphia an inexpensive place to dump their garbage and to international corporations cheap land for construction of gigantic distribution centers. Landfills and warehouses began to dot the views along the roadway.
Strip mining for coal also became more profitable because of the interstate access. It was cheaper and easier than the shafts and tunnels of traditional mining. Huge gouges appeared in the previously pristine landscape. Pennsylvania was not the only victim as other states such as West Virginia suffered the same pillage and rape.
I receive newsletters from YES MAGAZINE via e-mail. Today’s mailing details the recovery efforts of one such mining area in West Virginia. Dedicated environmentalists, enlisting local residents facing unemployment due to a decline in coal mining, are attempting to build farm communities over the filled-in mines and covered-over landfills where the devastation occurred during the past decades.
Granted, it’s an economic undertaking to improve the lives of local residents, but can we also see these works as acts of love directed to restore our Creator’s creation? Love is not only for mankind, but for every mountain, every river, every forest, every tree, every creature put here for our enjoyment and need.
“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made it detestable.” JEREMIAH 2:7
Scroll to the bottom of the page provided above in the YES MAGAZINE link for a free subscription to their newsletters.
“How can we determine the hour of dawn, when the night ends and the day begins?
‘. . . when you look into the face of another human being and you have enough light to recognize them as your brother or sister. Until then it is night, and the darkness is still with us.'”
If you have ever been to Bible School as a child, if you have participated in a Christian church service, if you have thumbed through the New Testament, you assuredly are familiar with the Beatitudes – the “blessed are” verses.
Often misunderstood, verses 1-11 tells us about the Jesus crowd circa 32 AD. The powerful of the mighty Roman Empire and the elite of the Jewish hierarchy judged the followers of Jesus to be insurrectionists, rebels and losers. The story of Jesus tells us that they were the target audience of the Gospel teachings, the ones whom Jesus loved dearly, for whom he was crucified.
I am a content misfit (according to today’s Western culture), a runaway, a loser. Join me in my insane, joyful approach to life, will you?
(the portions in red and underlined are my emphasis)
5 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His [a]disciples came to Him. 2 Then He began to teach them, saying,
3 “Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit[those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant],for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].
4 “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn[over their sins and repent change],for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the [b]gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness[those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.
7 “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart[those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.
9 “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and]be called the sons of God.
10 “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for [c]doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].
11 “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me.12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I want to be one of the biggest losers in the Jesus crowd.
This referenced article in YES MAGAZINE details how immigrants to our southern border are “disinfected” to prevent the spread of vermin and disease. I shudder remembering what I have read about the arrival of Jews to the concentration camps and the subsequent disinfecting process.
The article describes the methods used in these ‘holding camps’, the pain, humiliation, and suffering being caused. But, the nagging question which bothers me and which we all need to answer is this: are they less valuable, are they less human, are they less loved simply because they are not American, because they are refugees seeking asylum and a better life for themselves and their families? What if the asylum seeker was me and the family huddling around me was my family?
Initially when this current governmental regime assumed power, it was a fight against drug dealers, thugs and rapists crossing the border that we were warned against. Today it is the same people approaching our border but, with a different MO. They are, whether intentionally or unintentionally, spreading covid-19 and other diseases in our midst. They are causing a health crisis. Incredibly, listening to government authorities, we should believe that they will sell drugs to our kids, steal our possessions, rape our women and boys, and now infect us with a deadly virus.
Really? Seems to me that we, as a leaderless nation, have done a fine job of creating our own moral and health crisis – don’t need any help from immigrants. Those who refuse to mask up, refuse to practice social distancing, refuse to see this pandemic as the killer which it is and then ridicule and threaten others who take covid-19 seriously…..those others are the prevailing threat about which we need to worry.
How much are we willing to believe from a government which has lied repeatedly over the course of history? How long must America suffer the delusional mindset that because of race, nationality, creed, or alliances, it is superior to the rest of mankind who share this earth under a merciful and gracious Higher Power? How long?
“….faith has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.” BIG BOOK, chapter 5
we will know a new freedom and a new happiness we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it we will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace we will see how our experience can benefit others that feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear we will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in others self-seeking will slip away our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us we will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves
PROMISES OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, BIG BOOK, chapter 6
Are these extravagant promises? We think not! If you are sober today, give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.
When I found on YouTube this a cappella rendition of JUST AS I AM and saw that it was sung by a Mennonite choir, I knew this was today’s post. I have journeyed with very fine Mennonite men and women on this trek through life. They are non-judgmental, they are humbly devoted, they are peacemakers in a violent world.
Decades ago I answered the altar call at a Youth for Christ rally. Penitently, I walked up to the railing, knelt, bowed my head, cried. It was a transformative night. But then the ‘humbly born again’ me tried to assume the posture and image of what people told me a Christian, especially a born again Christian, should be. Over the following years I rebelled against and rejected anything religious.
That table of invitation, the seat reserved for me did not move. It is I who have changed and moved. Today, what others profess does not matter. What others think about me does not matter. What others assume as ‘Christian-like’ behavior does not matter. It was my seat waiting and I claimed it. Verse 3 of the hymn by Charlotte Elliot says it all:
“Just as I am! tho’ tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, with fears within, and foes without, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”
The truth of the Jesus story says to me that there are no conditions on taking a seat because the table is open to anyone – black or white, man or woman, gay or straight, drunk or sober, earthling or Martian – the truth has not changed. This has always been a universal invitation which only man’s theological interpretation has limited.
“If, therefore, the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” JOHN 8:36
Enjoy the freedom. The centerpiece of the table is unrelenting love for your Lord and, then, the entirety of Creation. We can add a plethora of ‘thou shalt’ and ‘thou shalt not’, but why should we want to? NAMASTE 🙏