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17 June 2010

Earth Lament

2 Esdras 10:7 Zion, the mother of us all, is in deep grief and great distress. 8 It is most appropriate to mourn now, because we are all mourning, and to be sorrowful, because we are all sorrowing; you are sorrowing for one son, but we, the whole world, for our mother. 9 Now ask the earth, and she will tell you that it is she who ought to mourn over so many who have come into being upon her. 10 From the beginning all have been born of her, and others will come; and, look, almost all go to perdition, and a multitude of them will come to doom. 11 Who then ought to mourn the more, she who lost so great a multitude, or you who are grieving for one alone? 12 But if you say to me, ‘My lamentation is not like the earth’s, for I have lost the fruit of my womb, which I brought forth in pain and bore in sorrow; 13 but it is with the earth according to the way of the earth—the multitude that is now in it goes as it came’; 14 then I say to you, ‘Just as you brought forth in sorrow, so the earth also has from the beginning given her fruit, that is, humankind, to God who made her.’

I have literally been at a loss for words to respond to the oil spill in the Gulf. It has broken my heart. It has broken God's heart. It has broken the heart of our earth.

This story in 2 Esdras seems to be about Esdras (Ezra) giving really bad pastoral care to a woman who has lost her long hoped for son on his wedding day to an inexplicable accident.
Ezra pontificates that the earth and even the holy city Jerusalem - and by extension God - have all suffered more than she.
But the woman was the city, in a vision sent by the Archangel Uriel. Uriel teaches Esdras the value of one woman's suffering, the suffering of earth and God who made her.
For those who will not hear the cry of the earth, perhaps they will hear the cry of her creatures:
Job 12:7 “Ask the animals, 
and they will teach you;
        the birds of the air, 
and they will tell you;
8 ask the plants of the earth, 
and they will teach you;
        and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
We are destroying our earth and we have no other home.

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