Protecting the Earth

Honeymoon Bay Sunset 2 by JJ Harrison. Photo via wikimedia commons

Genesis 1:1 (NIV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 24:1-2 (NRSV)
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.

Genesis 2:15 (NRSV)
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. - Aldo Leopold

I sincerely hate to say it, but I fear that Platonic philosophy has had more influence in Christian history than Jesus. The Jesus and Christ event says that matter and spirit, divine and human are not enemies, but are two sides of the same coin. They, in fact, reveal one another. For Plato, the body and the soul are mortal enemies and largely incompatible. Our poor sexual theology and our lackluster history of care for the earth and its resources, our disrespect for animals and all growing things, show that Christians have not seen matter and spirit as natural friends. Much of our history, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant, has created Platonists much more than Incarnationalists or Christians. - Richard Rohr

Before I condemn the waste and abuse of others,
let me not be blind, loving God,
to the waste and destruction within my own home,
within my own soul.
Give me a heart of humility
and a commitment to change.
- Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel

Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given. But up to now he hasn’t been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day. -Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya

There would be very little point in my exhausting myself and other conservationist themselves in trying to protect animals and habitats if we weren’t at the same time raising young people to be better stewards. -Jane Goodall

Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.
- George Carlin

Against the backdrop of infinite space, our planet appears so small, so vulnerable. Guide me, dear God, that I may cherish your earth and the life it sustains with the best of my energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.
- Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. … We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it. ~ Wendell Berry

When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
- John Muir

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.
We are all crew. ~ Marshall McLuhan

Creator God, we thank you for all of creation. We ask your forgiveness where we have failed to be just stewards. And we now ask for your guidance in restoring the face of the earth. May we learn to live in harmony, safety and just sharing of resources among all so that we achieve the kingdom of God.Amen. – concluding prayer from the Earth Day Novena by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

*Note- A Novena is a 9 day prayer cycle on a central theme, modeled after the nine days of prayer by the disciples between Jesus’ ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. (Acts 1)

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