We who live in this blessed region of our vast country watch with concern this week the news of earthquakes in California (Are they the harbinger of “the Big One?”) and flash flooding in the nation’s capital, while at the same time giving thanks for the minor inconveniences that we encounter close to home. “Disturbing” is certainly a word that we might use to describe our feelings about what is happening to the Earth, our home, but we should next be asking how we are complicit in the degradation and what we are doing to counteract it.
There has been a commercial on television lately about Rothy’s shoes, made out of recycled plastic. A person twists a plastic water bottle in her hands and it turns into a shoe and then there are all sorts of pictures of shoes. I couldn’t imagine that the message they were conveying was actually about plastic becoming wearable shoes so – of course – I went on the internet to do some research and, believe me, whoever had the idea certainly did their homework. Not only shoes but now clothing is being made from the huge amount of plastic that we discard each day. Statistics are mind-boggling as are the concepts of what can be done with what we throw away.
The lack of concern for the earth is monumental and shame should be our only reaction as we see pictures of the debris being scooped up from the oceans and littering our highways. I am somewhat calmed by the efforts of creative people like the Rothy’s company leaders but the earthquakes this week have (pardon the word) shaken me awake and hopefully have done the same for many people.
I know that much work has to be done and I can only hope I will enter the realm of the active reformers, doing my part in conscious and responsible citizenship. This morning, however, I have decided it might also be time to use John Philip Newell’s book, Praying with the Earth, as a consciousness-raising tool for my morning and/or night prayer. Today’s offering includes the following Prayer of Awareness. (I write it as a stream with few stops to accentuate the urgency of its message to the Holy One.)
It is in the depths of life that we find you at the heart of this moment at the centre of our soul deep in the earth and its eternal stirrings. You are the Ground of all being the Well-Spring of time Womb of the earth the Seed-force of stars. And so at the opening of this day we wait not for blessings from afar but for You the very Soul of our soul the early Freshness of morning the first Breath of day. (p. 18)