A Dominican Sister reflects on the scriptures of Earth Day: April 22, 2018
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts 4:8-12 1 JN 3: 1-2 Jn 10: 11-18
First let me say that being a city girl – raised in Miami I am not prepared, even with the study of commentaries, to truly speak on the specifics of the relationship between sheep and their shepherd. I can however say that these past days have brought many moments of reflection on these scriptures in the context of Earth Day and in the context of the events of the week as experienced around our world.
As I read and re-read these verses, I was continually brought to a halt every time I heard the words: Beloved – see what love our God has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God.
Beloved….. see what love has been bestowed upon us…AND
also, these words: I know mine and mine know me. As the Father knows me so I know the Father and I will lay down my life – I will sacrifice my life – in order to pick it up again
In the silence of evening and morning as these words reverberated within me, I realized the magnificence of the deep relationship offered to us
A relationship of deep knowing
A relationship of an intimate love binding us with God
And as we continue to truly understand our place on this planet this is a deep love not only binding us with each other but binding us as creatures with all of God’s creatures. As Elizabeth Johnson tells us, we are all children of God living within this community of creation.
When we look deeply with eyes of love
we can see the family likeness
while still holding the unique differences
that contribute to the fullness of life.
The Good Shepherd does not just care well for the sheep, the Good Shepherd is the one who is entrusted with God’s work of love so all may live and flourish. And as with all relationships of love, love beckons love and draws it forth. Love by its very being invites and creates a circle of life where all creatures are grounded and connected with each other in the creative redeeming love of God.
It is not enough for us to imagine that this intimate relationship belongs only to God and humans. This relationship is one between God and the fullness of Earth Community. Thich Nhat Hahn has a lovely little book entitled LOVE LETTERS TO THE EARTH in which he acknowledging our oneness and sameness with Earth. In ten letters throughout the book he writes of the love that is born in our hearts as we fall in love with Earth
Perhaps we might take a moment and write our own love letters to Earth, who has loved us, to those who have taught us to love, and to all those creatures we love.
Perhaps we will simply dwell in this unimaginable relationship of the heart
as we see what love our God has bestowed on us in which we are all called children of God
Corinne Sanders, OP