| For the creation waits with eager longing
for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation
was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the
will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation
itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will
obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
(Roman's 8:19-20, NRSV)
What is creation waiting
for? What will it look like when it gets here? There is
no one single definitive answer, and never will be, for
nature is always fantastically varied and suited to the
local environment. Furthermore, the kingdom of God remains
a seed growing secretly in most places.
Never the less, we glimpse
the kingdom here and there. We hear stories of it bursting
forth, often in unexpected places. Sightings of life in
harmony with creation come more often every year. Here
are some places where we see signs or visions of harmonious
Visions in Scripture
Psalm 104, a hymn to Creator God, "is perhaps
the fullest rendition of creation faith in the Old Testament."
[Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament (1997),
p. 155] The creation of the heavens (vv. 2-4) and the
earth (vv. 5-9) is followed by God's care for the earth
and all its inhabitants, human and animal alike (vv. 10-18),
all that while the months and days continue under God's
direction (vv. 19-23) and all living beings continually
depend from day to day on their Creator (vv. 24-30). "May
my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the
Lord" (v. 34). The psalm concludes with the prayerful
hope that all creation will be returned to its primeval
state before any evil came into it (v. 35). (Gibbs, John)
Isaiah 11: 6-9: "Then the wolf shall be a
guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with
the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear
shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the
lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by
the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's
lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the
Lord, as water covers the sea."
Revelation 22:1-3: "Then the angel showed
me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through
the middle of the street of the city. On either side of
the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of
fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves
of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing
accursed will be found there any more. But the throne
of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants
will worship him."
There are of course, many, many more.
Commentary on RCL Scripture Readings for Oct. 28, 2012,
Job 42: 1-6, 10-17
The bulk of the book instead presents a complex account
of a human struggling to find meaning in his suffering
. He again trusts in God as the origin and sustainer
of that creation and even that that creation can again
be abundant for him. He is ready to renew his own role
in that order.
the full article by the Rev Buff Grace
Mark 10: 46-52: Restoration of Sight to Bartimaeus
You might say that, as a culture overall we have lost
our vision. We have lost sight of what it means to live
in in harmony with the natural world. But the examples
are there to be seen. Like Bartimaeus we just need to
have our eyes opened and our sight returned. We may trust
that Jesus will open our eyes if we ask, so let us cry
with Bartimaeus "Teacher, let me see again."
Visions in Literature
Voltaire: Candide Similar exploration of
theodicy to Job with similar conclusion: "Cultivate
your own garden." Thus, think small, turn to natural
order, harmonize yourself with that.
Wordsworth: Intimations of Immortality
Celebrates the visions of connection to nature in childhood
and how the memories of that connection soothe a person
crowded by the human-built environment (city).
Eternity of Nature
by John Clare
|All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal; and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There's nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal is its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.
Visions in Practice
Sustainable intentional Community: Koinonia
Koinonia-from the ancient Greek, meaning loving fellowship
The Koinonia mission: We are Christians called
to live together in intentional community sharing a life
of prayer, work, study, service and fellowship. We seek
to embody peacemaking, sustainability, and radical sharing.
While honoring people of all backgrounds and faiths, we
strive to demonstrate the way of Jesus as an alternative
to materialism, militarism and racism.
Our vision is:
Love - through service to others
Peace - through reconciliation
Joy - through generous hospitality.
Koinonia is the Christian community founded in 1942 by
Jordan, "prophet in blue jeans," author
of the Cotton
Patch Gospels. Koinonia is the birthplace of Habitat
for Humanity and many other peacemaking, social justice
Koinonia is active in ministries
such as Heart to Heart Home Repair, youth and elder programs,
peace & justice work, and a ministry of hospitality.
Most of all, Koinonia is an intentional Christian community
striving to be a "demonstration plot for the Kingdom
of God." Members "preach" Jesus' gospel
through the way we live. We choose to model our shared
life after the early Christian communities as described
in the Acts of the Apostles, not to withdraw from the
world but rather to serve God and humankind more fully.
Sustainable and Healthy Food: Community Supported Agriculture
and Organic Farms
One of the exciting movements of the last 20 years and
more is the growth of Community Supported Agriculture
and Organic farming here in Minnesota and across the country.
Here is one representative realization of each vision:
- Community Supported Agriculture: This description
from the Land Stewardship Project Food and Farm Connection
At their most fundamental level, CSA farms provide a
weekly delivery of sustainably grown produce to consumers
during the growing season (approximately June to October).
Those consumers, in turn, pay a subscription fee. But
CSA consumers don't so much "buy" food from
particular farms as become "members" of those
farms. CSA operations provide more than just food; they
offer ways for eaters to become involved in the ecological
and human community that supports the farm. (http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/csa.html)
Rather than sell shares in the harvest, non CSA organic
farmers sell their produce at farmers markets and through
traditional outlets. Some small local farms operate according
to organic principles but cannot afford the formal certification.
Many people think buying local produce is more important
than insisting on certification. The Minnesota Department
of Agriculture maintains a list of Minnesota growers and
outlets on its Minnesota Grown website. Printed versions
are available. (http://www3.mda.state.mn.us/mngrown/home.aspx)
Gaviotas is a village of about 200 people in Colombia,
South America. For three decades, Gaviotans - peasants,
scientists, artists, and former street kids - have struggled
to build an oasis of imagination and sustainability in
the remote, barren savannas of eastern Colombia, an area
ravaged by political terror. They have planted millions
of trees, thus regenerating an indigenous rainforest.
They farm organically and use wind and solar power. Every
family enjoys free housing, community meals, and schooling.
There are no weapons, no police, no jail. There is no
mayor. The United Nations named the village a model of
sustainable development. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called
founder Paolo Lugari the "inventor of the world."
In the early 1980's Gaviotas began planting a Caribbean
pine tree in the otherwise barren llanos of eastern Colombia.
These trees were able to survive in the highly acidic
soil with the help of mycorrhizal fungus applied to their
roots. Over the years, this forest has expanded to approximately
8,000 hectares, or 20,000 acres. The presence of the forest
has altered the local climate by generating an additional
10 percent rainfall, which also supports Gaviotas' water
The processing of tree resin has become an important
economic activity for the community. Gaviotans discovered
that their pine forest can produce twise as much resin
as any other resin-tapping forest in the world. Tree tappers
normally use sulfuric acid when making incisions, but
Gaviotans use an enzyme that appears to be beneficial
for the trees. The use of mycorrhizal fungus may also
contribute to their productivity. Gaviotans produce a
very high-grade resin in their efficient, zero-waste facility.
Even the packaging of the resin was designed to minimize
excess material. Resin can be poured directly into cardboard
boxes, cooled and shipped to market.
Palm trees are now being planted in the forest to support
the production of biodiesel for the trucks that to transport
their products to Bogota. Over the years the pine trees
have provided a shady understory for other plants and
animals to thrive. Some of these species may be dormant
seeds of ancient rainforest that once covered the region.
The pines are slowly being crowded out by the regeneration
of indigenous species. The community is generating power
with turbine engines fueled by the aging pines in their
Curitiba, Brazil: A city for people, not for cars
Some statements about Curitiba:
- Curitiba has the highest recycling rate in the World
- Curitiba has bus system that is so good that car
traffic decreased by 30% while the population tripled
in a twenty year period.
- Curitiba has the largest downtown pedestrianised
shopping area in the World.
- Curitiba has built large numbers of beautiful parks
to control floods rather than concrete canals. So many
that they use sheep to cut the grass as it's cheaper
- Curitiba is a city where 99% of inhabitants want
to live. In comparison, 70% of Sao Paolo's residents
want to live in Curitiba.
- Curitiba's average income per person has gone from
less than the Brazilian average in the 1970's to 66%
greater than the Brazilian average.
Jaime Lerner first became mayor of Curitiba in the early
1970's (he has been mayor three times). His leadership
was crucial to the changes. Curitiba did a number of things,
best described here:
- Built parks instead of canals to reduce flooding.
Also used parks to make the city more liveable.
- Pedestrianised the downtown area.
- Invented and built the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) -
a bus system that works like a light rail system but
is 10 times cheaper.
- Gave people bus tokens in return for waste.
- Started a massive recycling scheme - all initiated
Also see: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jaime_lerner_sings_of_the_city.html
Mark Shepard 's family permaculture farm in Viola,
Mark has planted an estimated 250,000 trees over the last
15 years on his 106 acre farm. Forest Agriculture Enterprises
is known for its hazelnut, chestnut, butternut, nut pine
and apple produce, scion-wood and value added products.Mark
has planted his trees and market garden patches on contour
to retain water and to heal the land -the only exception
is the hazelnut maze. Mark follows the keyline technique
and has made a vast network of small pocket ponds and
spreader swales to slow and spread rain water and to heal
gully erosion. A Permaculture Farm ideally has a polyculture
of plants, animals and activities occurring on it. In
a polyculture system there's always something that can
be grown, made or exchanged in order to acquire dollars
and pay the bills. Once you start looking at Permaculture
as a profitable venture, you start seeing all of the opportunity."
Mark's farm is profitable according to typical economic
standards, but according to nutrient production by cost,
Mark's farm far exceeds traditional annual crop production
farms. He also farms small-scale livestock in order to
create zero-waste scenario and create more revenue streams.