Posted by: revladyem | June 17, 2009

Things

What do Wheelchairs, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Segways, Scooters, Cars, Buses, Boats, Trains, Planes have in common?   They are all things that give us mobility.  Things that cause us to get out of and away from our everyday routine. Things that allow us a sense of freedom.  Things that allow us to share in that community with others.  Things that allow us to witness the majesty of this land.

 What are Hedges, Gates, Borders, Fences, Walls?  And the answer is, things that close us in, that shut us down, that separate us, that keep us from another place. Things that impede our sense of freedom.  And just as mobility is most cherished, there are places and times where hedges, gates, and walls are also needed.  The more we progress, the more the need for greater mobility. There is a strange down to this progress.  You see, the more we progress, the more we regress, the more we open up to technology, the more we begin shutting ourselves off.  No, don’t get me wrong.  I am for technology, but I am also for that pause – to watch the clouds, to see the stars, to hear the birds, to wink at a baby, to smell a flower, to witness God’s wonders. To watch the flight of a butterfly – WRONG!  Where are the butterflies? Haven’t you missed them?  What have we done with them?  Where are they?  What else have you missed?  You don’t know?  Maybe you have been so plugged in that you are missing life itself.  In the immortal words of Marvin Gaye, “What’s going on?”

 We have become a society that reaches out to touch others through cell phones, through so many social networks, by many text messages, through the ever quick email. Holla! Yet, we have lost the personal touch, to speak to others that we see, to smile at those we pass on the street, to just have a conversation over a meal without texting.  I ride the METRO to work and while many read (as I do), so many have earplugs with something on.  I tried it, but didn’t feel it.  And since I could hear over my earphones, I just know that many were just trying to “look like.”  You know, look like they were so engrossed in what they were hearing that they don’t need to engage in even a simple smile.  But I digress. 

 There are others things that we may miss along this journey if we cannot connect as a community.  Things that impede.  Things that hold us bound. Things that trap us.  That could be so many things, even a bad relationship. Things that close us in, that shut us down, that separate us, that keep us from another place- the hedges, gates, borders, fences, walls.  Stay with me, I am going somewhere.  Walls. Let’s look at walls. You see, you missed the butterflies, don’t miss the wall. Don’t miss an opportunity to speak up, or have a meaningful dialogue about walls.

 As we wrestle with this whole idea of anything that separates people, destroys homes for humans and animals alike, and utterly devastates ecosystems, we are faced with quite a few walls that fall into this category: The Berlin Wall separated Communist East from the Democratic West and was destroyed in 1989.  While The Great Wall of China was built to protect the agricultural lands from invasion, the Palestinian Wall devastates agricultural resources for the Palestinians as well as loss of community and personal property. And for us in Western America- there is the Border Fence, which separates community in a country which presents itself as progressive and tolerant of different faiths, peoples, and beliefs. 

 In each case, whether it was the Great Wall of China, The Berlin Wall, the Palestinian Wall, or the Border Fence, there is indeed an answer. “Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed His last.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split” (Matt. 27: 50,51 NRSV).   Because of the tearing of the temple veil all could come to Jesus with no boundaries, no one being left in outer courts.  All can live a positive life.  Not to stretch this theologically, but just take time to contemplate a life well lived, full and whole.  That is a life well lived for all of Creation, not just humans. All of Creation deserves to live as it was intended with everyone playing a role in the sustainability of Creation.  And our role -“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28 NRSV).  

 In his piece, “Why I am Green,” found in the forward of the Green Bible, Brian McLaren goes on to explain “creation’s downfall resulting from human sin has eclipsed its original glow as God’s handiwork, radiant with God’s glory” (McLaren, 2008, I-44).  The Green Bible was so helpful in information that I shall use it one more time.  In “Reading the Bible through a Green Lens,” Calvin Dewitt offers biblical principles for Creation Care summarized here (DeWitt 2008, I-28).

  • The Earthkeeping Principle – As the Lord keeps and sustains us, so we must keep and sustain our Lord’s Creation. (cf. Gen 2:15; Num. 6:24) “As God keeps people, so God’s people should keep Creation.”
  • The Fruitfulness Principle – We should enjoy but not destroy creation’s fruitfulness. (cf. Gen 1:20, 22, 24; Ps.104:10-13)
  • The Sabbath Principle – We must provide for creation’s Sabbath rests. (cf. Ex.20, 23:10-11; Lev. 25:20-21, 26:3-4; Deu.5; Is. 58:13-14; Mark 2:27)
  • The Discipleship Principle – We must be disciples of Jesus Christ- the Creator, Sustainer, and Reconciler of all things. (cf. John 1:3; Rom. 5:12-17, 8:19; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45; Col.1:16, 20; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 21:5)
  • The Kingdom Priority Principle – We must seek first the kingdom of God. (cf. Matt. 6:33)
  • The Contentment Principle – We must seek true contentment. (cf. Ps 119:36; I Tim. 6:6, 11; Heb. 13:5)
  • The Praxis Principle – We must practice what we believe. (cf. Ez. 33:31-32; Luke 6:46; James 2:19)
  • The Conservation Principle –We must return Creation’s service to us with service of our own. (cf. Gen. 21:15; Josh. 24:15; 1 Cor. 15:22,45)

Take time to allow the passages to wash over you and place that in perspective of the border fence and what it does to God’s Creation.  It behooves us all to come to the aid of Creation as it has cared for us with food and shelter.  The border fence disallows the very thing that nature needs to sustain itself- food, water, shelter.  If we can step outside of self to focus on the needs of others, we will be able to glimpse bits of our role in caring for all of Creation.

 Have you ever stared in wonder at the majesty of a mountain range?  And then take a plant from the park to plant in another area?   You know how we do, we are in awe on the one hand and disturb the peace on the other hand.  Have you ever removed a rock from its resting place and sent rolypoly bugs and/or earthworms scurrying?  Have you ever skipped rocks across the water and then wondered what happened when the rocks settled?  Have you watched the ripple effect of that rock in the water?  Do you think about the ripple effect your every move makes?  Are your ripples purposeful toward loving your community?  Each move gives you an opportunity to  better contemplate the wonders of Creation and your responsibility. 

The construction of the Border Fence through the western states has separated different species from their families, homes, food and the very ecosystems upon which they depend along the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. These fragile systems, when left to flourish, are sustainable, yet when disturbed, are destroyed. It doesn’t stop there.  Remember the ripple effect.  The disturbance causes ecosystems to become unbalanced.  Think about the animals that are placed in harm’s way.  Think about the water dwellers that will die when the creeks and rivers are dried up form the flowing of uprooted dirt into the water.  Think about the people that loose their water source. Animals and humans are left without water, food, and shelter, those things that we all need to live.  Why should it matter to faith communities?  If is done to one, it has been done to all. We all are community, whether we walk, ride, text, talk, laugh, cry.  We all have an important role to play in Creation care.  Today there is something that you can do individually and collectively about the border fence.  Let your representative know that you take issue with the disturbance of the ecosystems around the Border Fence.  Pray for a resolve in the political matter, a reconciliation of community around the Border Fence, and a restoration of the ecosystems as God has planned.  Oh yeah, and smile at me when you see me on the METRO. Pray for me and I pray for you. Type to you later.

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