Monday, February 18, 2008

A Time for New Beginnings, Again

Hello friends,

It’s difficult to say when I began to understand that, as a people, we were poisoning the earth, to the point of no return. Maybe it was when my asthma became worse, so that I, literally, could not leave the house between late spring and late fall. Or it could have been when I realized how close my neighbors have come to starting uncontrollable wild fires, because they must burn everything in the middle of their lawns. Perhaps I became painfully aware that many of my countrymen were hiding their eyes from the truth that any idiot can see: We are poisoning our planet, and I don’t think that we will stop soon.

Recently I saw a T.V. interview with a man who once had great power in the Congress of the United States. He has since stepped down, being indicted for fraud, and, yet, he is still interviewed as a person who will tell the truth. Amazing! The interview went something like this:

“So, Congressman, do you believe in global warming?”

“Well, I think the hoopla is ridiculous! There is no reliable evidence!”

“Are you saying, then, Congressman, that you don’t notice that our planet is getting warmer?”

“Well, I do believe that we are experiencing global warming; but humans are not responsible.”

Wow! I’m impressed. NOT!! I wonder if the former Congressman ever read Isaiah, Chapter 24, which speaks to us about our misuse of the earth? I will quote a small, significant passage, beginning with verse 4:

“The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate,
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left.”

Pretty chilling words. And I believe the Word of God with all of my heart.

I’m not certain why some people can’t see their hand in front of their face. Are they looking? Are they hiding their eyes? I’m not a very liberal person, but I don’t think that we are talking about liberal versus conservative. I think we’re talking about common sense. I also think we are spitting in the face of God, and He is not amused.

In the southern Appalachian Mountains, where I live, we have not had a serious snow storm in ten years. Further south, they have been digging out all winter. We’ve seen tornadoes in the Deep South on Christmas Day. Floods. Famine. Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Fires in the West, and deep snows in the northeast, as well as the mid-west, all at the same time. Disasters of every kind fill the news reports every day. Just this year, China has been crippled by freezing temperatures and record snow storms. Every country in the world has been wracked with one devastating weather event after another, and yet we hide ourselves from the truth. Why? So we can gather more nickels and dimes?

Thankfully, many Christian conservatives are distancing themselves from those who refuse to see. What is that old saying? There is none so blind as he who will not see! Well, I refuse to be blind. I am responsible for my little piece of earth, and I’d better take care of it. I tremble before the power of God Who holds me accountable. He knows my heart, as He does each one of us.

In Luke 8:17, Jesus said:

“For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.”

I have to be honest. I care about these things, just as I care about my children. Even as I care about your children. What kind of world will I leave to them? For me, honesty is not only the best policy; it is the only policy. I know I have sinned, and I’m ashamed of it. I want to honor God with all my limited strength. I’m a realist. I know that we are poisoning our planet, and I have helped, blindly. But I have changed.

Every plant that we plant in our garden; every tree that we place in our ground; every green thing has a purpose. We are changing our habits, so that we can help change our world. I want to stand before God and say, “I have cherished your creation.”

Last summer, one of my daughters suffered from a neurological condition, which made walking an impossibility. She lay on our bed, facing the patio door, so we made a garden on the deck, with a birdbath, bird cakes, and beautiful flowers. Hummingbirds fluttered around the honeysuckle vine, and every baby bird visited our bird cakes and feeders. Our yard was rich with young life, and we prayed for each baby bird.

Birds of every color and description drank the water we supplied and ate the food that we provided. One day, in the heat of summer, I noticed that the main birdbath had become dry. I hurried down to wash and fill it. Just as I was washing out the birdbath, I noticed a little house finch fluttering to my left. I began to talk to the bird. “Don’t worry little one, I’m giving you water to drink.” Then I began to spray the water into the birdbath. At that moment, the little bird fluttered down into the bath, under the spray of water. I didn’t move. I kept that spray as soft as it would go, and for the space of a minute, there was an intimate exchange between one of God’s creatures and me. It was a humbling experience.

I can’t express how each plant and tree touches my heart. And the little critters who find shelter in my yard? It’s a bit of heaven for me. I owe them. God brought the animals to Noah, to save them. Can I do anything less? Can I not save those creatures, who so obviously depend on me? I must, and I will.

I wrote a poem about my relationship with God’s creation, that I would like to share with you.

It’s Personal

Everything is personal, every blessed thing.
The sunset. The sunrise. The robin’s song in spring.
Everything is personal, as I wend my weary way
Through a lonely nighttime vigil, into the break of day.

Everything is personal, sent from God above;
His grace, and all His blessings, especially His love.
He finds me irresistible. I can’t imagine why;
For me, He sends the rainbow to paint the azure sky.

For me, He dots the darkened sky, with tiny, twinkling light.
For me, He sets my soul on fire, long into the night.
To Him I turn my weary soul, when all my hopes are gone,
Then once again He proves to me, He’s loved me all along.

I can’t explain this personal friendship that I feel.
I only know within my heart that He is very real.
Trees and flowers, birds and bees are personal, you see;
Because I’m certain that my God created them for me!

© 2005, Jaye Lewis

So, my friends, I hope that you will forgive my tirade. I become angry when people, who should know better, hide their faces from the obvious. I have been guilty of that sin. I hope I am a better person, now. I do want you to know that I treasure each person who reads this message. I’m no prophet. I’m merely a child of God, trying to be obedient.

Dearest Father in Heaven, please bless each person who reads this, and may You fill his or her life with joy, peace, and true riches, beyond what the world would provide. May they seek you and come to know you intimately, and may each of us look for some small way to glorify you in all that we do. Please, Lord, forgive us our sins of omission, and make of us a creation which will honor You always.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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