Monday, September 23, 2013

24 Hours of Reality

The Meaning of This Hour

I first "met" Rabbi Lawrence Troster about six years ago, when I discovered GreenFaith, Interfaith Partners for the Environment, on the Internet.  I sent Rabbi Troster (Fellowship Director) an email inquiring about the new program established to provide an avenue to the faith communities, about turning their church communities "green".  I even talked with Pastor Dr. Jeff London about participating in the program GreenFaith had launched to create Fellows to go out and spread the "green" word about God's Creation and what we as humans were doing to the planet.  It was decided the timing was not at that time, mostly due to the responsibilities with my day job and the conflict of timing.
I read an article in HuffPost Religion, written by Rabbi Troster and I wanted to share some of his thoughts.

In March 1938, Abraham Joshua Heschel delivered a speech to a conference of Quakers in Frankfort called "The Meaning of this Hour."  It was later published in 1943.  Heschel was speaking out and witnessing the horrors of war.  He was arrested in October 1938 and sent to Poland.  Six weeks before the invasion of Poland he was sent to England and than to the United States.

Heschel warned of the coming cataclysm in vivid and forceful language, evoking images of the demonic.  He said, "At no time has the earth been so soaked with blood.  Fellowmen turned out to be evil ghosts, monstrous and weird."  He asked the question,"Who is responsible?"  We are, he said, by not fighting for "right, for justice, for goodness."  He said we should be ashamed, and after the war, when the full horror of the Holocaust was revealed, he said that we should not ask, "Where was God?" but "Where is man?"

We are not facing a world war, but we are facing something even worse. What we are doing with carbon is against the least of these.  It's the people on the small islands and other countries without the means to protect themselves from our personal actions.  "What we do to the least of these", as Jesus said. But we can stop the situation from getting worse.

In the published version of his speech, Heschel wrote, "The Almighty has not created the universe that we may have opportunities to satisfy our greed, envy and ambition.  We have not survived that we may waste our years in vulgar vanities."  These words can easily be applied to our lack of action on climate change.

Climate change is one of the greatest moral disasters of human history, because the people who will suffer the most have been the least responsible for its cause.

The meaning of this hour is that we must recognize what we are doing, admit our fault, and bring about the changes necessary to prevent further damage.

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the "fierce urgency of now."  Once again, that is the meaning of THIS hour.  Thank you, Rabbi Troster.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Equal Exchange is About Community

As we all eagerly await for Autumn to arrive, let me share with you good news from Equal Exchange.

This fall when you purchase coffee, tea, and chocolate, your purchase will count twice. In addition to   supporting long-term committed relationships that Equal Exchange has with their small farmers, when we purchase Equal Exchange products, we support our denomination too.  Equal Exchange gives additional funds back to our national denomination through the Small Farmer Fund, which PC(USA) decides how to spend.

Last year Presbyterian Church (USA) gave contributions to support The Road to Life Yard-Papaye, an integrated sustainable agricultural development program in Haiti which includes organic farming and Moringa Trees through MPP-Mouvman Peyizan Papay.

I thought you would like to know what a helpful contribution you bring through your purchases to help God's children to become self sufficient.

In Christ, all things are possible.
In peace and joy.  Diane

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Monday, September 16, 2013

3.  Fruitfulness Principle:  (Part three of a piece from Calvin B. DeWitt)

The fish of the sea and the birds of the air, as well as people, are given God's blessing of fruitfulness.  In Genesis 1:20 and 22 God declares, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."  And then God blesses these creatures with fruitfulness;"Be fruitful and incraese in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth."  God's Creation reflects God's fruitful work--God's fruitful work of giving to land and life what satisfies.  As it is written in Psalm 104, "He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.  They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.  The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among its branches.  He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work."  And Psalm 23 describes how our providing God "...makes me lie down in green pastures,...leads me beside still waters,...restores my soul."

As God's fruitful work brings fruit to Creation, so too should ours. As God provides for the creatures, so should we people who were created to reflect God whose image we bear.  Imaging God, we too should provide for the creatures.  And, as Noah spared no time, expense, or reputation when God's creatures were threatened with extinction, neither should we.  Deluges--in Noah's time of water, and in our time of floods of people--sprawl over the land, displacing God's creatures, limiting THEIR potential to obey God's command,"be fruitful and increase in number."  To those who would allow a human flood across the land at the expense of all other creatures, the prophet Isaiah warns: "Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land." (Isaiah 5:8)

Thus, while expected to enjoy Creation, while expected to partake of Creation's fruit, we may not destroy the fruitfulness upon which Creation's fullness depends.  We must, with Noah, save the species whose interactions with each other, and with land and water, form the fabric of the biosphere.  We should let the profound admonition of Ezekiel 34:18 reverberate and echo in our minds:

"Is it not enough for you to feed on the green pastures?
Must you also trample them with your feet?
"Is it not enough for you to drink the pure water?
Must you also muddy it with your feet?"
Copyright Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies.