Being Good Stewards of our World, our Church and Each Other
Dearest Spiritual Ohana,
The last few months have been a true “wake up” call for all of us who inhabit the earth. Many tears have been shed and their has been an immense and incredible amount of suffering, as recovery from everything is long, slow and painful! Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria left unimaginable devastation in their paths specifically in Texas, Florida, the Southern States and Caribbean Islands. The magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Mexico and continuous aftershocks brought destruction to that country’s southern-most part. On top of all that, the peace of the world is at stake with the growing disunity and tension between Nations.
We cannot put the blame on God, Who entrusted us to be stewards of the earth, each other and all He has given us. For God has and is and always will love us! He is a God of Immeasurable Love and Mercy, unfailingly! What we collectively have done as human beings is disrupt the natural balance of the earth through our focus on being “consumers” rather than “stewards” of it. It is our selfishness and self-centeredness and lack of love and care that we find ourselves in the situation we are in. Besides, we collectively as the world, are relying less and less on God and are constantly turning away from Him.
We read in the Gospel of Luke 21:25-26: “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
“Lord have mercy!” What have we done?! We have fallen into consuming the resources of the earth, especially through our dependence on fossil fuels and oil. We rely on them to get us from point “a” to point “b,” through the use of our vehicles for transportation. Our phones, gaming devices and gadgets are replaceable items that are changed every few years or even sooner! And guess where the materials of these items come from? Oil, of course! The main ingredients of our addictive possessions come from plastics, which are products of oil. Indeed, we find ourselves in a physical and spiritual crisis! The good news is that we can make efforts to reverse the course of the out-of-control spiral of events and actions which are taking place. Simple solutions, but not necessarily easy to carry out, because we have come to a point that we cannot let go of our reliance on what we are consuming the earth with and our constant quest to acquire the latest and the greatest technology!
Our world does not have the choice but to take drastic measures to reverse the damage already done. We have to make the move to become, once again, stewards of the earth rather than consumers of it. In the physical, tangible world, we have been steadily depleting the ozone, our protective barrier in the atmosphere. Our water is becoming more and more acidic rather than alkaline, making our water less and less safe to drink and less inhabitable for the creatures that live in it and for us who rely on it to sustain life. In our spiritual lives we are turning away from our reliance in God, and replacing the need for His Presence with satisfying our physical needs and pleasures in excess of what is necessary. To become stewards and caretakers of the earth and one another we need to make a 180 degree shift, physically and spiritually, making the movement towards being conscientious, caring, more selfless and ever more aware of the need for God’s Presence in our lives.
I found a beautiful quote about our responsibility and stewardship of the world and one another: "Love all God's creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light! Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything you will perceive the divine mystery in things. And once you have perceived it you will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly, more and more every day. And you will at last come to love the whole world with an abiding universal love. Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and untroubled joy. Do not therefore, trouble it, do not torture them, do not deprive them of their joy, do not go against God's intent . ”
~Starets Zosima in the novel The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Just as a pebble is cast into the water and produces “ripples,” let us each make a concerted effort, in our own special little way, to take care of one another, protect the environment and earth, and “commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.”
With Love in Christ,
Polycarp the Holy Martyr & Bishop of Smyrna; Proterios, Archbishop of Alexandria; Gorgonia the Righteous, sister of Gregory the Theologian; Damian the New Martyr of Mount Athos; Boswell, Abbot of Melrose Abbey