Day 10: Planetary Abuse
The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.
The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up,
and very few are left.
I grew up in southern Portugal, in a landscape not dissimilar to the one Jesus would have known. We had fig and olive trees around the house, and pines, almonds, and carobs flourished, perfectly adapted for the hot, dry summers.
I went back recently after a long time away to find the 'earth dried up and withered.' Even the hardiest and most mature trees are dying for lack of water. You no longer have to cover up in the evenings – it's too dry for mosquitoes. Although that isn't a bad thing for humans, I hate to think how hungry the birds and frogs must be without this food supply. How have your places fared over the years? What changes do you see in the natural world around you?
We've done incalculable damage to God's creation through our greed, impatience, carelessness, and selfish determination to extract what we want from the earth whatever the cost to ourselves and our non-human neighbors. It was our calling, as those made in the image of God, to reflect his character in caring for the whole Earth. The whole Earth suffers as a result of our communal failure in this essential responsibility.
But the call to creation care still stands, and we all have opportunities to live it out day by day. As we prepare for Christmas, let's be thoughtful about food sources, the kind of gifts we give and what we wrap them in, and whether we can travel using public transport. From the products we buy to the fuel we use, from lobbying our MPs to setting green company policy. Some of us even work directly in political leadership and energy production and can work 'as if for the Lord' in those spheres – pushing for a more just, sustainable use of resources.
I confess my involvement in selfish choices and sinful behaviors which damage God's creation. And I commit myself, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to repent, to lament, and to renew my vocation to serve and conserve God's creation, living in it and using it responsibly and sustainably.
From the A Rocha Commitment to Creation Care