Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pentecost XVI


Thoughts toward a sermon -- readings are here.


The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God and the love of God.

-James Irwin
(commenting on his flight aboard Apollo 15, July 1971)

To all earth's creatures God has given the broad earth, the springs, the rivers and the forests, giving the air to the birds, and the waters to those who live in water, giving abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries, but as common to all, amply and in rich measure. -Gregory of Nazianzus c.329-c.389


This gospel is a challenge to humankind on earth. The earth is God’s creation and we are the tenants. Those who warn us of our pollution of the earth are voices who often are silenced – they are listening to the earth but many do not want to hear. Like little children who don’t want to listen to parents, we put our hands over our hears and chant – na na na na – I’m not listening”. Even if there are unlimited resources and no such thing as climate change, we are fouling the only nest we will ever have.

Listening to those trying to care for the environment in Egypt – they say it is important to be frugal in our use of the land, water and air just because it is important – even if there is no other reason. They of course can see the effects of climate change – with the loss of the edges of the country that are by the Mediterranean Sea. Islands in the Pacific are disappearing as the polar ice melts. In Wyoming the glaciers are shrinking year by year. In Egypt individual action is taking place- people are building solar water heaters –even in the poorest parts of Cairo. In this country there has been a lot of emphasis on local individual action.

I am impressed with the environmental consciousness of the area around us, the work on Nehalem Bay and the conservation easements. Recycling (note our latest newsletter for our efforts). People think twice about a trip to Astoria or Tillamook or Portland. Our own BAC member and mayor of Manzanita, Garry Bullard, wrote a great article on the balance of nature in Manzanita with the coyotes, raccoons, feral cats and us.

But individual action can only go so far. Local action does not help if there is no will in the greater mind to change. China is investing in “green energy” – they have been one of the biggest polluters but are changing. More advanced nations have to become active as the higher standard of living and use of resources makes them bigger consumers but also more able to afford the changes needed.

Today we are blessing our animal companions – they depend upon us for a planet that is safe for all creatures. The choice is before us – will we be like the workers in the field – thinking only of ourselves or will we hear the voice of all creation.

Thanks to Suzanne Guthrie, Edge of Enclosure for the ideas and quotes.