“When, Earth…When Did We Hurt You…?”
By Lu Mountenay of Independence, MO, USA
And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” —Matthew 25:40 NRSV
The stewards said to the sacred Earth, “When did we hurt you?”
Then the Earth said to the stewards, “I was gasping for breath, and you suffocated me—you contaminated my air and destroyed my protective shield, which I meant as a blessing for you. I was thirsty, and the waters which you did not imprison in plastic vessels, you wasted and polluted.
I was whole, and you cut off the peaks from my mountains and laid them low; you filled my deep valleys with toxic sludge. My forests were green and full of life-giving oxygen, and you clear cut my trees, leaving barren stubble and erosion. The waves of my seas were high and mighty and teeming with fish, and you left them stagnant, laden with mercury.
I was generous with energy, a gift for your children’s children, and you greedily drained my storehouse. I was delightfully naked, and you clothed me with trash. I was full of resources, and you scraped up my chemicals, combined and processed them in a way my Creator never meant them to be—and then you exploded them against me. I revealed traces of hidden elements for your benefit, and you left me with heavy footprints of carbon and radioactive waste, which cross borders and generations.
I was creation itself, and your blinders of power would not let you see me for the living gift that I am.
Prophetic people warned you, but you balked at the truth and listened to the fear mongers. Some of my inhabitants tried to protect me, but your laws and regulations were feeble. Some disciples offered solutions of green, but, alas—you were short-sighted and said the cost was too high. I welcomed you to dwell with me, yet you made me a stranger.”
Then the stewards said, “Holy Earth, what else did we do to betray you?”
And the Earth said, “It was not only what you did, but what you failed to do.”
Then the stewards again asked, “Earth…Earth, when? When did we see you cry and not respond? When did we feel you shudder and not comfort you?”
And the Earth answered them saying, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to me, you did it to yourselves…and your children’s children.”
Prayer for Peace
Forgive us, Creator, when we are not aware of the vulnerable Earth and the living gift it is. Help us be aware that sharing Christ’s peace is to honor the miracle of your creation.
Spiritual Practice: All That Lives
Listen to the wind move through the trees. Sit quietly and sense God’s presence flowing through all creation. Consider doing one small act of justice or healing for the earth.
Today, God, I praise you for the gift of a living sanctuary. I will make every day “Earth Day.”