Reflection on Psalm
It really is a challenge to
be committed to eco-justice and at the same time maintain one’s
inner stability, one’s focus, and one’s hope. Psalm
37 has some words of wisdom for us, both negatively and positively.
"Do not fret"(vv.
1, 7, 8), "do not be envious"(v. 1), "refrain
from anger"(v. 8). Not even when wrongdoers are "getting
away with it,"not even when some folks "borrow, and
do not pay back" (v. 21; as with Enron, WorldCom, and other
corporations that in effect robbed their shareholders)
even then: "do not fret."
Nelson Mandela was in prison
27 years, and during that long oppression he developed enormous
inner strength, and extraordinary capacity to hold on to hope.
As his autobiography shows, he overcame despair and bitterness,
and lived one day at a time according to his inner compass,
while nurturing the community of his peers in prison.
He had 3 of his jailers present by special invitation at his
inaugural as the first Black President of South Africa.
He models the kind of approach that eco-justice requires of
us in this oppressive time of corporate welfare, dismantling
of environmental safeguards, political cynicism, and the spread
of hopelessness and escapism within an alienated electorate.
"Trust in the Lord, and do good"(v. 3); "take
delight in the Lord"(v. 4); "be still before the Lord,
and wait patiently for him" (v. 7); "wait for the
Lord, and keep to his way" (v. 34). Even though we
live in a time of contraction rather than expansion, a time
of growing imbalance between rich and poor, a time that is dominated
by 9/11 rather than by any "manifest destiny,"even
though all this is the case, and especially because this is
the case: "trust"in God, "delight"in the
Creator's character and purposes. Keeping on keeping on "in
His way"is the positive orientation of eco-justice.