Recently we went to a service of "reconciliation with Creation" at Saints Clare and Francis Ecumenical Catholic Church in Saint Louis. It was a powerful service that included these words from Henri Nouwen:
"Today, we walk with Jesus. Jesus walked this earth, and he still does. Jesus walks from village to village, and, as he walks, he meets the poor. He meets the beggars, the blind, the sick, the mourners, and those who have lost hope. He remains very close to the earth. He feels the heat of the day and the cold of the night He knows about the grass that withers and fades, the rocky soil, the thorny bushes, the barren trees, the flowers in the fields, and the rich harvest. He knows because he walks so much and feels in his own body the harshness and the vitality of the seasons. He feels the thinning of the ozone layer, the stripping of the soil structure, the mourning of the trees in acid rain, the wailing of the porpoises and dolphins, the condors and frogs, the tigers and rhinoceroses as their habitats dwindle, their compatriots die, and they are left alone. He listens attentively to those with whom he walks, and he speaks to them with the authority of a true companion on the road. He is stern, yet very merciful, direct yet very gentle, demanding yet very forgiving, probing yet very respectful. He cuts deep, but with the hands of a healer; he separates, but only to let grow; he repudiates, but always to make affirmation possible. Jesus is deeply connected to the earth on which he walks. He observes the forces of nature; he learns from them, teaches about them, and reveals that the God of Creation is the same God who sent him to announce good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to the prisoners."
May these words bless and challenge us all as we move toward Earth Day and Creation Sunday.