#3: Feast of restored creation.

healedearth ***This is the third of a series of posts based on a book I’m reading for a class called Connections in Religious and Ecological Education entitled Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation. The chapter is “Heaven and Earth Meet,” Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 Christmas Eve Midnight Mass sermon.

In his first homily, Pope Benedict XVI declared that “the Earth’s treasures no longer serve to build God’s garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction.”  We’re pretty familiar with the story of Genesis 3, Adam being given, in the old language, “dominion” over what God has created.  The Pope revisits Anselm of Canterbury’s vision, from the 11th century: “The elements of the world were oppressed, they had lost their splendor because of the abuse of those who enslaved them for their idolds, for whom they had not been created.” Not much has changed in a thousand years.  But God is in the world, even in this world of oppression.  Christmas is the evidence – a baby, a poor baby in the desert.  God isn’t “up there,” watching us defile and destroy the precious gift of creation, the gift of which we are a part, from which we are in no way separate.  Rather, God’s here, “down” here, participating in bringing the drama of our destruction to a fitting conclusion.  Whatever that conclusion may be.  As Christians, we have Christmas, God-with-us.  But we also have Easter.  There’s a crucifixion in there, but the resurrection comes.  The Christmas Eve sermon doesn’t address this, but I wonder, reading the Pope’s words, whether we’re hoping for a resurrection of the “body” or not.  Are we waiting for God to swoop in and save us from ourselves (we know and believe this to be possible)?  If so, are we spiritualizing that hope, crossing our fingers that the earth will magically be saved?  I don’t understand our God to work that way.  There are always appropriate consequences.  We’re always called to repentance and reconciliation.  In the cosmic story we are living, God’s oppressed always find salvation, and redemption comes, even when it’s painful for everyone involved.  How will the elements we’re abusing find this?  Are we ready for the possibility that when we’re the oppressors, that redemption might come at the ultimate cost?  Because I don’t see how we can spiritualize the idea of what equates to self-destruction.

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1 Comment »

  1. euandus2 Said:

    It is interesting that no one has picked up on the pope’s citation of Origen in the homily–namely, Origen’s insistence that pagans such as Hindus can’t love or reason. I’m surprised India hasn’t objected to the insult.
    Source: http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/ratzinger-at-the-vatican-hindus-cant-love/


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