Most of us have forgotten. We’ve forgotten that we are connected to all things and that what happens to one, happens to all. Sure, sometimes we remember, but then we forget again. We’ve been urbanized and civilized. We’ve come to rely on convenience and instantaneous gratification. We want the easy path… and so we’ve forgotten.
(For the full audio version of this sermon, click here.)
Saturday a group of twenty of us went to the Eco Justice Center of Racine. It was created by a group of nuns who wanted to live sustainably and in harmony with the land and then they wanted to teach others how to do the same. Their dream was born out of a deep sense of the spiritual connection with all of creation. It was in the little things that we did that I was reminded of how much I’ve forgotten. When the turtle aquarium was emptied for cleaning, the water (rich in turtle dung, I’m sure) was used to water and fertilize potted plants. The dandelion leaves that we pulled out of the rose beds weren’t just thrown on the compost heap, but were fed to the rabbits. The straw and droppings from the goat shed were put on the compost heap to speed up the process of decomposition. Everywhere I looked – from the honey house, to the alpacas , to the chicken coop – something was being reused or recycled.
Thousands of years ago the prophet Jeremiah cried out in the name of God, “I brought you into a land of plenty to eat its fruits and other good things. But once you entered my land you defiled it and made my heritage an abomination” (Jer. 2:7). It seems that this is still true… a result of having forgotten.
It is time to wake up again. It is time to think about how our actions environmentally affect our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the seventh generation. The Iroquois have a saying: “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.” You see, it isn’t always easy to change our behaviors, to put sustainability above profit, to reduce, reuse and recycle. But when we don’t, we hurt that which is truly a part of ourselves, and therefore hurt ourselves.
In the words of Chief Seattle:
This we know. The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth. Humankind did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever humankind does to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.”