Archive for September 30th, 2005

Friday Week 26 Year I

Global warming, acid rain, fuel shortage, hurricane and flood and fire. One of the gifts an ecological awareness has given us is a renewed sense of sin. It used to be hard to read a prophet like Baruch without taking it personally and either going into a decline over your own shameful life or going crazy at a religion that uses guilt to get what it wants. Now… well now we are only too aware of what we cannot manage to be fully aware of—the way our very way of life is bought at the expense of each other and of the planet. Every banana we eat takes its toll on the global climate. Every car trip drains our finite fuel. Every extra degree we warm ourselves with finishes off another ailing species. Our chickens are coming home to roost and Baruch is calling us to see which gods we serve and the disasters that have—or will—seize upon us.
I said this was a gift. In the US kids who have been naughty are told that when Santa comes they’ll get a lump of coal. A gift, but not one we want. A sense of ecological sin is not much of a gift if it leaves us stranded, powerless, and frustrated at what we cannot change.
Enter Jesus. At first I thought he was singing from the same sheet as Baruch; worked up at the same inability to see our own sin. But he’s not. He is worked up and at our inability to see—but it’s not blindness to sin that’s the problem. He lambastes Bethsaida and Chorazin because there have been miracles in their midst and no one has seen or celebrated. It is missing the miracle that upsets Jesus. It’s stinting the celebration. And maybe that is the root and reason of all our wrongdoing.
Maybe we need to see and celebrate the miracle more. Of dusk and dawn. Of the turning trees. Of evening primroses. Of polar bears and elephants and soil and frogs. Of arctic wastes and pristine seas. Of all the life that blooms and withers among us, year upon year. Miracles the lot of them! God working, giving, blessing, shocking, gracing, feeding.
Jesus, it seems, blames us only for looking to heaven when our hearts should be planted here with all our sisters and brothers in this blooming, buzzing, chaotic web we call life.
That is my prayer: not to miss the miracle; not to disrespect the loving, living, giving God labouring in it all; not to leave un-celebrated the one who came and comes that life may burgeon and abound.

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