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21 June 2010

Earth, Wind, Water and Fire

This is what it means to be grounded~
Lying on my back in the sand
Feeling the pounding waves shake the earth under my body
Sounds of sea and shore swirling 
Waves of wind whirling 
Across my body
Healing rays of light 
Caressing my skin
My breath deepens as each breath lengthens
And I am healed.

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.

02 June 2010

The Occupation of Gaza

I am writing to to those who are outraged by Israel’s attack on the humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza, to those whose support for Israel is unflinching, to those who seek a just peace among all nations and to all who are affected by the political instability and cycles of violence in lands that are revered as holy by billions of people around the world.
I begin this statement with an affirmation of the right of the state of Israel to exist and to act in its own defense. I begin with this affirmation because many of our desired Jewish and Israeli conversation partners interpret all critique and dissent as ant-Israel and anti-Semitic. It is my desire to promote peace and justice between, among and for all peoples including and particularly Palestinians and Israelis, Arab and Jewish Israelis, Christians, Muslims and Jews in Arab and Persian nations and around the world.
I write as a committed partner in theological education with Jewish faculty and seminarians and inter-religious dialogue with Turkish and other Muslim communities who seek to further understanding, respect, compassion and peace between all peoples.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries among the Turkish-led international humanitarian coalition attempting to supply the long-suffering people of Gaza with relief supplies. And I am saddened by the injuries sustained by the members of the Israeli Defense Forces. I am deeply concerned with the plight of the people of Gaza, and the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
I recognize the complexity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And I recognize the deep pain of the Israeli people and Jews around the world as a result of the Shoah, tho Holocaust, and continuing anti-Semitism in the world. I respectfully submit that the legacy of those horrors had led some Israeli politicians to adopt a policies that permit any action against any person or people including those deemed immoral and unethical as legitimate defenses of the Jewish state. I want to call our Israeli and Jewish friends, colleagues and conversation partners to our shared scriptural mandate of love of neighbor and stranger.
Specifically, I call for an end to the blockade of Gaza, and all policies that subject Arab Israeli citizens to apartheid-style governance, particularly in East Jerusalem. I caution that there can be no peace build on a foundation of occupation, segregation, ethnic reservations or apartheid. I urge the nation and people of Israel to work with the legally elected leaders in the West Bank and Gaza to work for a true and lasting peace between the two, sovereign and secure peoples.
I recognize that there is justifiable fear and anger on all sides and that there is no solution that will please everyone. I acknowledge the substantial and enduring sacrifices and losses that have occurred on all sides and know that they cannot be compared or sorted into a hierarchy of suffering. I know that all those who have already sacrificed, and lost and grieve those losses will have to sacrifice even more. I hope that the next round of sacrifices are intentional, peace-making and corporate.
I pray that we will live to see peace in my lifetime.