By Rev. Debra Jene Collum
Chatfield United Methodist and
Commissioned EarthKeeper of the UMC
As Earth begins to awaken under the warming closeness of Brother Sun; our hearts rejoice! Mother Earth is awaking from her slumber. She is sighing with renewed growth. She is stretching her molecules so that roots can expand again. She is warming within so that dormant seeds can grow and become all they were meant to be. Mother Earth is embracing us with Hope.
In most of our ancient cultures, Mother Earth was central to worship. She was present at creation and was the sustainer of all that was important to life. In most of our ancient cultures, from east or west, north or south, our attachment to Earth was not about possession; it was about co-existence. Our ancient ancestors knew that without Earth they would not long survive. While they didn’t understand the science of earth keeping, they knew the mystery and truth of it.
As we became more “evolved” we lost that sense of mystery and truth. Earth lost her identity as our Mother and became our tool. We used Her and abused Her. And in the process we lost one of the greatest gifts Creator God has given human kind, to be a co-creator with God. I like to image God holding up planet Earth in pride, saying, “Look! Look! Look at what I have lovingly created!”
And then as humans came on the scene, how excited God must have been, people who could care for Her, be a partner with God in co-creating a healthy, sustainable planet that would be a blessing to all. That is after all God’s command to all of us, “Be a blessing to each other as you would have others be a blessing to you.”
John Wesley, who was the founder of Methodism, said that the sin of humanity was our disharmony with the created order. Humans usurped our place in the ancient chain that keeps everything interconnected and interdependent. Each system had its place and humans disrupted that system. Humans created disharmony. We left behind our role as co-creators with God and Earth and became co-destroyers of Earth and all She is. While Wesley based his theology on the science of the time; this idea of a disharmony with all of Creation, as the basic sin of humanity, has not outgrown its truth.
Our ancient ancestors would tell us that we stopped listening to and honoring our Mother Earth.
As She begins her yearly cycle of waking, maybe we could listen again to her sighs, to her laughter, to her molecules stretching. Maybe we could really and truly feel Her warmth returning as she absorbs the melting ice and snow and soaks in the energy from Brother Sun. Maybe we could join with our ancient ancestors who knew the mystery and truth of a returning spring which proved again that God is with us. Maybe we could regain our role as co-creators and look with God-like pride on this Earth which God has gifted us for our harmony.