Creation as Neighbor
Adapted from Exploring Community of Christ Basic Beliefs: A Commentary
(Adapted from Exploring Community of Christ Basic Beliefs: A Commentary edited by Anthony J. Chvala-Smith, p. 62. A Kindle version is available at www.HeraldHouse.org.)
When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent…put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, ‘Oh that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, Lord!’ You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. -Psalm 4:4-8
The world exists in and by divine love. The Spirit is itself the spirit of livingness. God loves and sustains life in all its abundance and dazzling diversity. The triune divine community created all life as an interconnected whole. These affirmations of our faith may help us imagine creation as one neighborhood or community. Jesus’ command to love our neighbor, then, extends in our time to the whole cosmos, with its countless intricate living systems. Nature, as our “neighbor,” can as well be seen as the “poor among us,” for in the biblical tradition, the poor were the most vulnerable. In our own time we also know that human poverty actually arises from the impoverishment of the land (Exodus 20:8\xe2\x88\x9211; Deuteronomy 5:12\xe2\x88\x9215; Psalms 19:1\xe2\x88\x924; 104; Isaiah 24:4\xe2\x88\x9213) as desertification demonstrates.
Loving our neighbors must no longer be confined to the person next door, the person sitting next to us in church, or even those who live at the other side of the street. Loving our neighbors has become a pressing global call. It will require us to live ethically and compassionately in relationship with all creation. Exciting possibilities open up when we apply Jesus’ command to love our neighbor to creatures like frogs and polar bears, to places like oceans and glaciers, and to the natural processes related to air, water, and soil. By loving all creation, we live and share God’s sacred purposes for the world, which arose from the mystery of God’s boundless love.
“Practice Resurrection” (Wendell Berry).
During this Easter season, we invite you daily into a breath prayer focused on resurrection. With each exhale, respond in a word or phrase to the question, “What is dying?” (fear, anger, assumptions, etc.) With each inhale, notice a response in a word or phrase to the question “What is rising?” (love, courage, trust, etc.) You may choose to use the same word or phrase throughout this season, or let each day bring its own unique response to this sacred pattern of dying and rising that is central to our faith.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.