"At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant."
Over the last few weeks, I have been spending more time in the evening watching sunsets, and the stars emerge in the darkness. In a city where we encounter "Ozone Warnings," almost daily, the time that we are being told to "remain home," is allowing the earth to recover a bit.
I think that these encounters are making each of us aware of the crucial importance of our relationship with nature. As long as we relate to the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the fields, and the oceans as properties to be manipulated by us according to our real or perceived needs, nature remains opaque and does not reveal to us its true being.
If we only relate to the forest as nothing more than the potential chair, or the open field as the site of the next high-rise building, we then fail to recognize the real value of the earth.
I use the word "opaque," because when we fail to see nature as anything other than property to be used, it becomes "opaque," or in our society as pollution.
Over the past few weeks we have seen river canals become clear, views from space of the planet have become clearer and ozone layers have become cleaner. If there is anything that this time of isolation is teaching us, is that we do have a relationship with nature.
Our urgent and difficult task is to accept the truth that nature is not primarily a property to be used or possessed, but a gift from God to be received with gratitude. When the earth was created, God announced that, "It is good." If there is something that our current experience is teaching us is that we need to give thanks for rivers, oceans, fields and mountains that offer to us, not just their beauty, but also a place for us to live. I hope that as we continue moving forward that the opaqueness continues to become more transparent and reveal to us their real meaning.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.