Today we celebrate God’s presence through healing and restoration. When we anoint ourselves and gather to do this in community we do more than focus on our individual lives and conditions. We celebrate the larger and wider conditions, such as God’s creation and calling us to life. And these days we experience creation and our lives as somehow diminished and under attack.
With these experiences in mind I invite us to consider a wider healing. This morning we pray to Heal the Earth and to Heal our Human Spirit.
Scientists tell us that the Earth is in trouble. Global warming surrounds our concerns and worries us about what to do. Images of danger stay in our minds and haunt us on a regular basis. Despite our mid-October snowfalls in Wisconsin this year the pictures are undeniable that Earth is approaching a desparate situation.
Years ago I visited a zoo, I don’t remember which one, that had a new polar bear exhibit. The zoo was very proud of the living arrangements they had built for the white giants. And for people the zoo constructed an underground viewing space so you could watch the polar bears swim around their new digs. All that was very interesting and the image came back to me recently.
I read that the polar ice cap has melted so much that polar bears in the wild must now swim further and longer just to find ice flows to settle on. They are losing body weight and fat and are becoming increasingly incapable of keeping up the population of baby polar bears. In effect, their swimming to find decent ice is dangerous to their very existence.
We all have images of danger for Earth. And we are people whose faith is based in the Creator God declaring all creation good and worthy of being cared for.
Rosemary Reuther is a theologian who has written extensively on the necessity to reconnect ourselves to the earth. Biblically speaking we are co-creators and our recent traditions of dominating the earth’s resources has shown us to be irresponsible and dangerous to the Earth itself. Resource depletion and creating superabundances of carbon emissions into the atmosphere is not good.
Reuther calls her view, ecofeminism. By this term she sees this creative connection as drawing together our human responsibility as being created in God’s image and the glorious gift we have been given in this blue planet. To do something about this responsibility just go to the website, Heal the Earth.com. You will find there a list of over 100 things you can do to reduce your own contribution to carbon emissions.
Heal the Earth and you address the call to also Heal our Human Spirit.
In today’s Gospel Jesus heals two blind men because, as he recognizes, their persistence and their faith moves him to act.
In the novel, Snow, written by the Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk, an isolated town on the Russian border undergoes violence and murder among its residents. The practice of Moslem women wearing the head scarf has come under attack. Some young women even committed suicide because they were convinced that they were being told to not wear their scarfs. Pamuk tells of the poet, Ka, who goes to the town to see what is going on. The entire story unravels to a level of tragic farce. And the town’s isolation is only made more impenetrable because of an unrelenting blizzard that creates a solitary world within this town out of control.
Unfortunately this is a story that reveals the attacks on Human Spirit and shows the completely skewed lives that formal religious demands can create through its rules. These are lives in need of a healing that allows people to live well with each other.
Take a lesson from the blind men. Persist in following the good, who is Jesus and his teachings of love and acceptance, and believe that love calls us to a wide embrace of all people.
Heal the Earth, Heal our Human Spirit.
Today’s anointing is for each one of us and for all of us.