Sunday, 20 April 2008

Born a Tribe, DiaTribe

"We light this chalice to remind take good care of the earth, because it is our home."

As I look out upon the blanket of snow that is covering these parts of Seattle and the Puget Sound region, it's hard not to think about earth and climate and ecotheology, especially in t
he penultimate couple of days leading up to Earth Day 2008.

I love how the words above find themselves sandwic
hed in the space between loving kindness for our fellow brethren on this planet, and living lives of goodness and love. Earth is the sacred ground upon which this covenant finds communitas, just as the wind becomes a Holy Spirit that whispers the Truth and Beauty of these words.

I think there was a huge part of me that resisted the notion of Church for years because no religious institutional construct could ever come close to my ideal of what Church should look like.

The closest I've come to discovering such a sacred place was in the environs of a couple of outdoor chapels in the
Kananaskis foothills of the Canadian Rockies. And while I still consider nature to be the greatest of all the houses of worship on this planet ~ from the beaches, the mountains, the meadows, the forest, the rivers, the canyons, the deserts, and the tundra, to the Great Lake and ocean waters; I have since reconciled my notions of holiness relative to place.

I now see nature in more pane
ntheistic terms - that is to say that I recognize that the no-longer sentient and seemingly profane wood in the pews can be a glorious creation of the divine tree from which it came, and that the tranquil, wooded view from our sanctuary is a blessed sight to behold.

Today in church, we sang This Land is Your Land. Long time no sing that classic folk song. We sang a more globally-correct version that mapped a vision "from Patagonia to the Azores Islands," rather than the Americanized one that saw only "from California to New York Island," or even the Canuck version I found myself automatically singing today as befit my own tribal upbringing, which had me imagining the limits of the land "from Bonavista to Vancouver Island."

And it got me wondering: Why are people so scared of having a global vision? What is it about one-world sensibilities that scares so many? And for that matter, why must we be so tribal and totemic and contentious and greedy and wasteful and toxic and so fearful of humane response? We kill our earth softly every day and in doing so, we annihilate pieces of our collective soul like so many piercing pinholes in the fabric of existence.

I don't pray much but when I do, it's inevitably for a quantum shift in Worldview. Not to dissipate plurality but rather to really and truly integrate it in both thought and deed ~ this whole, great big, messy co-existent, web of life. Think about all those sexy in words for a minute...Innovate, Integrate, Involve, Intrigue, Ineffable, Indigo, Infinite, Integral.

We're all in this together. It is your land, my land, and ultimately, no one's land because no single one of us can hold claim and title except through our good deeds. To take good care of the earth, because it is our home.

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.
And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
That's why we
Celebrate this day.
That's why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.

Jane Yolen


Anonymous said...

You chose your church the way I'm trying to choose mine. I've been told UU is the way to go, now if only I didn't have to drive 50 miles to get there! *stupid Kentucky religious mores*

I was induced to become an Earth Mother sort of person by my children: Becca and Libby are hard-core Children of the Earth, there's something almost old-soul mystic about them both. I've learned a lot of respect for the Earth from them, and I have always tried to see the World, not just the world in all it's Fullest terms. I think that's what makes me more open to so many things others are afraid of, at times.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!

Holy Thought of the Week

"To live fully is to let go and die with each passing moment, and to be reborn in each new one."

~ Jack Kornfield ~