I have a picture on my altar
at home that came to me originally as a note card from a girlfriend
years ago. I tucked it in the back of my small sacred space —
a bookshelf in my bedroom where I go to reflect on what is most important
to me. The picture shows a beautiful Black Madonna with a dark-skinned
Baby Jesus perched on one arm while the two of them balance the Earth
between them. The picture reminds me daily of my values and speaks a
prayer in my heart that has no words.
All week the single image of
the Earth as photographed from space has been hovering front and center
in my consciousness. A green-blue marble floating in space, sparkling
with lights in some parts, swirling with clouds, white polar ice defines
her direction in a limitless sky. It is an image first recorded from
satellite some 47 years ago, an image of home as seen by an outsider.
We are the first generation
of our species to be able to imagine our planet whole. Scientists now
speak of her as Gaia, a place so teeming with life that she is seen
as life herself. We are relatively recent inhabitants of her gardens,
yet we seem hell-bent on destroying her.
We think of ourselves as special,
created in the image of God, because of our ability to self-consciously
reason and create. We believe we have been given the right to dominion
over our Mother Earth, but we take no responsibility for that gift.
That image of our Mother Earth
floating in the cosmic soup of a majestic universe seems detached. We
can imagine the earth "out there," and too easily forget we
are there with her, intimately connected to all her woes. If her ice
caps melt, everything changes; we are so connected to her story. Yet
we make our choices oblivious to their effects upon her: one more plastic
convenience here, one more SUV there, what difference does it make?
Perhaps it is our very capacity
to intellectualize, rationalize and detach that bodes most danger for
our Mother and for our survival as a species, for the survival of all
species. Our ability to remove ourselves from the web of life, at least
in our thinking, has contributed to our ability to act with impunity.
Governments speak of our addiction
to oil. It is addiction to unconscious choices — from consumerism
to drugs — that allows us to continue down a path of imminent
peril. "I don't want to think about it." So we pop another
pill, watch a bit more television, go shopping, clean the house with
chemicals that hurt the environment. Oh well.
Mother Earth calls us to account.
She may simply shake us off as the destructive parasites we've become.
Our image of God status denigrated to the image of the cockroaches we
Our Mother loves us and longs
for us to change. She has nurtured us with her very life and calls to
us with warnings we are finding harder to ignore.
Now, if we could just stop fighting
with one another long enough to listen, we might be able to change.
Our Mother is calling, and she can't wait until Earth Day for our response.
Article first published on www.ReligionandSpirituality.com
in January, 2007. Rev. Kristi Denham's church keeps working to become
a Green certified church and she is working to become a better steward
of creation in the personal choices she makes.