On Sunday morning I travelled to Washington National Cathedral ( ee 9th of April) for the Morning Eucharist at 11am. I would have guessed at 2,500 people or perhaps more – for worship that was much more than a spectator sport. The fact that I couldn’t see very much didn’t matter – it was inspiring and disturbing. The theme was Earth Day that is marked in America on 22nd April and is will be celebrated here at VTS with a number of events including a lecture.
The prayer on the front of the order of service was this:
hope of all
the ends of the earth
and the seas that are far away.
You make fast the mountains by your power;
They are girded about with might. You still the
roaring of the seas,the roaring of their waves, and the
clamour of the peoples. Those who dwell
at the end of the earth will tremble
at your marvellous signs.
You make the dawn and
the dusk to sing
If I had been better with the graphics of this machine I would have fitted the words into the shape of the earth! The message of the prayers and readings was our delight in the glory of God reflected in all creation. You may remember that poem by E E Cumings:
I thank thee God for this most amazing day ………for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
We certainly need to open our eyes and see the wonder that is given – that is sheer gift. Yet our earth is at serious risk and we do well to know what is happening to our world through waste and pollution and human greed. The world is full of glory but what is becoming of this small planet drifting through space. Climate change threatens our future and we need to live with the consequences of our failure to care and uphold the world. I am surprised that the environment is so low down the list of political priorities in the presidential campaign. Can we muster the vision and courage that we need to protect the world before it is too late?
Advice? Here are some tips that I saw today outside a junior school nearby:
Change your light bulb to an energy efficient one
Share your journey into work
Check the tyres on you car – they will be more efficient on fuel set at the right level
Use public transport
Run your dishwasher only when it is full
Use recycled paper
Move your thermostat down two degrees and save energy
Save on transport cost and buy locally produced food
Recycle bottles and plastic
Plant a tree – they suck up carbon dioxide
Buy organic food
I don’t know about you but that wasn’t bad in terms of memory – I think I missed three or four of them!
I have no doubt that I do not fully comprehend the complexity of this subject – but unless we ask some of these bigger questions then we shall never embrace a wider vision of the world and our place and responsibility for it. We do not have to commit evil to contribute to the destruction of the planet. Some may think that this is sheer trendy tokenism. All we have to do is keep consuming and continue to avoid and deny that the planet is under serious threat.
I come to see that there are two major challenges that face the human race in the twenty first century. The first is whether we can learn to live with our differences without resorting to war and the second is can we muster the vision and courage to stop the destruction of the earth before it is too late? That starts with us and our preparedness to think a little deeper and differently. Our life is connected within the economy of Gods love. Everything is connected. Everything belongs. There are enough resources to share – if we had to will and generosity to do so. Can we be instruments of harmony – rather than rude and self centred guests in someone else’s house? How green are you?? That is the challenge of this earth day.