Being the church--at the end of the world

Week 8, Day 5

Matthew 6.10

Your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Lament —2018

she is crying;

tears of ancient ice

fill the sea with sorrow—

the children will never know.

nothing is holy

everything is for sale

tear open her breast

steal the danger

she holds long hidden—

the children’s future burns.

nothing is holy

everything is for sale

deep toxic greed

fractures her heart

lets go her trouble—

the children struggle to breathe.

nothing is holy

everything is for sale

metallic veins

pumping poison

over sacred waters—

the children thirst.

nothing is holy

everything is for sale

she is crying;

but warning tears

one day will cease—

the children will know

everything is holy

nothing is for sale

I wrote this poem to address four environmental catastrophes currently playing out across our planet.

IV: Pipelines like the recently authorized Keystone XL are being run over lands and waters held sacred by Native Americans—lands and waters that should be held sacred by all people because they are the source of the food we eat and the water we drink. Remember, pipeline do two things—they move oil and gas and they leak.

III: Natural gas drilling by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is destroying landscapes, poisoning underground aquifers and causing earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas. In some places in fracking country, water coming out of faucets in homes can be set on fire.

II. Mountain top removal and tar sands mining are systems for getting at coal and the bitumen that can be processed into a heavy oil. Both of these despoil vast ranges of pristine forest and mountain land. The rubble from the coal mines is pushed into valleys, destroying watersheds and poisoning rivers. The tailings from tar sands mines leach cancer causing chemicals into the rivers. Cancer rates in native communities downstream are soaring.

I: Finally, there is the mother of all catastrophes—our changing climate. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, in large part a result of the burning of the products of the first three catastrophes. Arctic ice and glaciers melt, sea levels rise, hundreds of millions of people living near coastlines are at risk, storms, droughts and fires are growing worse. The science of climate change is settled—TV pundits and politicians to the contrary notwithstanding. And it’s bad news.

The planet is being undone. We are largely responsible.

Now read this line from the prayer Jesus taught us to pray; but read it slowly and carefully. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

Sometimes Jesus puts us in an uncomfortable position. We live on the earth as it is. We have to. But we pray—because we are taught to, and we work—because we are told to, to live within God’s will on this same earth. How are we to do this? The destruction of large swaths of God’s “very good” creation for economic gain can hardly be God’s will. Yet life, as we have come to know it, is dependent on this destruction. Most uncomfortable.

But we are the church—the Body of Christ in this uncomfortable world. Maybe we can do this hard thing. Maybe we can live out God’s purpose for our world. Maybe the the words Jesus taught us will come to life “…on earth as in heaven”.

Prayer: Infuse our prayer with your Spirit, Creator God—so our eyes will open to the beauty, and our hearts broken in love, of our planet home. Move us beyond prayer to hope; beyond words to action. Amen

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