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Dedicated to my sister Barbara on Earth Day 2010

Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works…

A world in which nature was unrelated to human behavior was a foreign concept to the ancient writers. So vulnerable to the forces of life and death arising from nature were they that they readily saw God’s hand in famines, in floods. They were people who understood the economy of the natural order, who knew that it was wasteful to kill a calf for food instead of letting it grow to a productive maturity, who mandated the gleaning, of the fields by the poor, who understood that the land needed a rest every few years.

In the caring for the earth we need not leave the Judeo-Christian tradition. For us, the care of the earth is not just a matter of the right of the middle-class people in expensive hiking clothes to commune with nature. We have the integrity of the worker constantly before us in our sacred texts, and we cannot ignore it. We have the widow and orphan before us there, and so we are not silent about incinerator location in poor communities. We have Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem, loving the city and its thousands of souls, and so we do not tolerate and environmental policy that punishes urban waste and winks at the manicured excesses of the suburbs. We have the gospel charge to carry the good news to all, and so we cannot counsel restraint in the use of rainforests if we are not willing to curtail the lifestyle which consumes most of them: our own.

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