As I envision the 144,000 (symbolic number for a very large group of people from every nation—12,000 for each of the 12 tribes plus 1000 equals a large number) marked with the seal of God’s loving protection, I realize they have survived the great persecution. They will be led to life-giving waters.
This week we have been dealing with the power of death-dealing and destructive waters. I am not one who believes that a God who is up there and out reaches down to array nature’s forces to cleanse and chastise us. I do believe that nature, like the empire, strikes back. Our failure to care for creation and admit responsibility for the destructiveness of climate change sets in motion forces, such as increased ocean temperatures which increase the fury of hurricanes, which do indeed strike back.
Revelation assures us that all will be made well. Eventually, in union with all God’s creation, we will stand before the throne praising the God who has set creation in motion and who has brought it to completion at the Omega Point. We will hold the palm branches signifying victory.
However, there are consequences to our action or inaction in the now. What goes around comes around. Mother Nature strikes back with the “fury of a woman scorned.” In Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI spoke of “development” or human progress. The issue facing us is the benchmark which drives development/human progress. Is it the free market guided by Adam Smith’s invisible (and supposedly benign) hand? Or, is it the quality of life for every person guided by the Beatitudes in the Gospel for All Saints Day? Driven by unfettered greed, the free market unleashes destructive forces which destroy nature and diminish the quality of human life. Clearing rain forests, our planetary lungs, to raise cattle is but one example. Destroying creation to extract dirty tar sands oil in Western Canada for export out of the US is another. “Drill, baby drill” is the mantra of greed.
The first beatitude may be the only wisdom mantra we need. The word for “poor” is actually the word for “beggar.” Beggars and beggars in spirit are destitute. They are grateful for the bread for this day. They build not grain bins or silos. They do not have a IPhone 4s to trade in on an IPhone 5. Commodification, greed, and acquisitiveness drive the free market economic machine. Gospel values based on less is more drives the movement to care for creation and each creature. Meister Eckhart, German mystic teaches that the Gospel message is all about subtraction, not addition.
I think it was John Paul Getty who said, “The meek shall inherit the earth but not its mineral rights.” Jesus assures us that the “meek shall inherit the earth,” but, I dare add, only if we care for creation.
There is much each of us can do to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate climate change. Since starting with a local GreenFaith chapter, we have decided to eat less meat. Recycling is tough in our small mountain community but we can probably find a way to recycle paper and plastic.