The Eighth Day

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. (Rom 8:21)

God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near. (Rev 1:3)

I encountered both these scriptures during my prayer time this morning. I was trying to center; however, my monkey mind launched into chatter. Soon I noticed a pattern to the chatter and saw that it was taking a direction.

Recently, I have joined GreenFaith—an ecumenical movement to care for God’s creation. I have been reading Bill McKibben’s Eaarth and plan to attend his tour presentation “Do the Math!” in Atlanta tomorrow night ( .

Yesterday, I had watched a Great Courses lecture by Luke Timothy Johnson on mysticism. Often, I have told classes I have been teaching that solitude leads to prophecy. This was true for Thomas Merton who fled to the structures of the Cistercian monastery for a much needed respite from the “world.” On the corner of Fourth and Walnut in Louisville, he had a vision which reminded him that he was one with all these people who were wandering around shining like the sun. Merton reengaged with the world he has fled and condemned war, nuclear weapons, consumerism, and racism. From the solitude of her Benedictine monastery nine centuries earlier, Hildegard of Bingen came forth to speak truth to ecclesiastical power and secular power. A contemporary of Merton, Dorothy Day whose life was based on a structured prayer practice which included daily Eucharist [You-care-ist] challenged war and fallout shelters. Contemplation leads to prophecy.

Johnson’s talk caused a big light bulb—compact fluorescent for sure—to come on. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea had contemplative unmitigated, direct encounters with the Divine. Like Moses’s experience with the burning bush, these mystical encounters can only be described as Holy S___! scary encounters. When God comes a calling, we have to change. The call itself is unsettling. We want to run away or proclaim our unworthiness to receive and proclaim the truth we have heard.

All this is prefatory to saying that I received a message this morning as my prayer continued to ramble. I do not proclaim to be Moses or Thomas Merton. I do know that I had an experience of the Divine and was charged with sharing what follows:

On the eighth day as God continued to enjoy a well-deserved rest, human beings took dominion over creation. They discovered fire. They learned how to forge tools. Late in the day they discovered the power inherent in burning carbon for heat, cooking and the production of goods. Human beings were in their ascendancy of dominion over creation. Carbon literally fueled production and wanton, reckless patterns of consumption to the point where the earth was radically changed forever. Persistent warfare to acquire carbon-based fuels became a pattern of life later in the eighth day. The overabundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused accelerated melting of the polar ice caps and the Greenland glacier. Ocean levels and ocean temperatures reached new highs. Super storms wreaked havoc on the inhabitants of earth. In the eleventh hour of the eighth day, God said, “This is NOT good. Listen to this message and take steps NOW to end the death, destruction and decay of my Creation. The time is near and is running out. Restore what glory you can to Planet Eaarth!”

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