The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us,
coming through matter.
The whole earth is God’s face therefore God’s delight is our first doctrine based on our first commandment to love God above all and that includes all of God’s creations and creatures. The realm of earth is part of the rule of heaven---no separation between the body and the soul, or the soul and the soil. All are part of one body. When there is an injury to one all suffer; we are part of one interconnected web; one fabric of destiny.
God has established our heavenly terrain amid what Ken Sehested calls a “bodified life.” I love how the nature writer and photographer John Muir wrote about this relationship we have with nature this way:
“The trees wave and the flower blooms in our bodies as well as our
souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm
sing of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song,
our very own and sings our love.”
Earth Sunday meets the Crucified Risen Christ at a fish fry, a eucharistic meal. The question that emerges from our Luke reading is how do we get beyond our own disbeliefs and come to terms with suffering, all this suffering going on? How do we not go numb to yet another shooting? Another Black life murdered? Another Covid death? And now, now, the destruction of creation itself caused by climate catastrophes we have caused. Some say our ecosystem would prosper if homo sapiens were extinct. We have seen the return of wildlife during our pandemic lockdown that have high -lighted this truth. Dear Ones, if ants and bees or even bats disappear or are gone, so are we. We are interconnected, part of the web of life. We are not the masters, the stewards, or even the favored ones assigned dominion over.
On Easter Sunday, I preached not only about Jesus being resurrected but about his going to hell and liberating Adam and Eve and everyone else. Jesus descends into hell to raise everyone from the dead. Resurrection is neither just about Jesus nor just about saving the “good ones” like Moses and Abraham. Today I would like to fold into our story another perspective, an inconvenient truth and that is that salvation is also not just for humans alone. It is for all of creation. Like the disciples who have witnessed the injustice and suffering of Christ on the cross, we too have been called to witness the injustices of the system of racial inequality and oppression now on trial in our country and the ecological devastation of our planet which now includes species extinction. We are witnessing this suffering even in our unpredictable weather changes where the storms grow bigger and more damaging, and our forests burning.
On this Earth Sunday, midway between the hope of Easter and the promise of Pentecost, we are called to use our witness of suffering as the basis of our call to go out and be God’s co-creators to restore the created order to its rightful place in redemption’s destiny, to work to bring forth a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness will have a home.