Holy Ground

Forgetting that taking out the garbage involves holy time and holy ground is a mistake.  Maybe sandals have a use . . . but spiritually we need them on less than we think.

Then the Lord said to him, “Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)
I have never liked the idea that some ground is more holy than other ground.  I appreciate the reminder to notice how holy the ground is, but I am not willing to elevate one ground over another.  Nor can I pick out one great time and lift it above another. Or take a Sabbath only on Sundays.  Monday can be very holy itself.  I like the phrase one of my parishioners uses: remember the future.  Now is then.  Then is now.  I might argue that we should keep our sandals off all the time, in all spaces.

Yesterday we carried two weeks of frozen compost to the local community garden and placed it in the offering plate. The offering plate was a white drum with a handle you can turn. Our egg shells, onion skins, coffee grounds, apple cores, grapefruit peels, squished limes and garlic casings were on their way to resurrection as next year’s Swiss chard. Or red leaf lettuce. Perhaps even a sweet pea will rise from these offerings. Remembering the future is the only way to have a future. You have to build now for later. As the very successful head of Amazon says, over and over, we need to be three steps ahead of our last three steps, which steps will shift each time we take them.

OK, OK, OK. I know we’re supposed to “carpe diem,” seize the day, live in the moment, and all that. Still, the truth of every moment is the way it treated yesterday. It has a past as last year’s compost, a present as this year’s onion, and a future as next year’s chard. Now is later, later is now, and soil needs eternal, not temporal, attention. Forgetting that taking out the garbage involves holy time and holy ground is a mistake.  Maybe sandals have a use . . . but spiritually we need them on less than we think.

 O God, keep our sandals in our hands and our minds aware of how sacred time and space, here and now, then and later, are.  Amen.

Reflection by Donna Schaper, from StillSpeaking

(This reminds me of something I heard many years ago: “For the Christian, there is no difference between the secular and the sacred; all ground is holy ground, every bush is a burning bush.” Perhaps Bob Jones Sr. wouldn’t have used this in reference to care for the earth or in relation to the past and the future, but the message remains that everything we do, say, are or come across is just as sacred as that ancient burning bush.)

Climate Change is Not Political

This is part of an email circulated to all staff at my place of employment. It is about climate change and the basis why we believe it’s a certainty (rather than just muddled speculation by ‘some’ scientists). Thanks to St Columba College’s  Head of Science for his enthusiasm and conviction which prompted this:

Science is non-political. It is evidence-based and peer reviewed. Not one scientist is flawless, so scientists work in communities to analyse and process data to come to conclusions. Results and conclusions are internationally verified, and ultimately any mistakes are fixed (and this may or may not be revealed). On rare occasions a scientist may fabricate data to suit a desired outcome. Such frauds are soon discovered and disgraced and their careers are over.

Unfortunately some people have succeeded in making climate change a political issue and this has led to a shift in the numbers of people concerned about climate change. (Note this is not about politically-driven solutions to the problem.) Since many people don’t understand the science of climate change they are relient on what scientists are saying and then this is where their trust is placed. People also place trust in their political pursuasion, so if their side of politics denies climate change, then there is a competing place in which to place their trust.

This is what has occurred in the past 4 months. For this reason, as a scientist, educator and Science Coordinator, I am duty-bound to remind people that 95% of the world’s science community is unequivical in their assessment that climate change is happening and that is is due to human activity. And, as mentioned above, this conclusion is internationally reviewed and verified.

If you are unaware of the basic causes of climate change (namely global warming), the site link below provides the basic ideas.


(This the the educator coming out in me!)

This Saturday night earth hour is on again and if possible it would be good to get behind this cause.

Are These the Worst Places to Be on Earth?

I came across a blogsite today called Listverse;. One post in particular grabbed my attention: 10 Places You Don’t Want to Visit. Have a look. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that these are truly polluted, barren, or otherwise terrible places to spend your holidays.

In spite of their reputation–some of which is the result of our negligence as residents of Earth–one thing came to my mind: God is there too. Even though these are garbage heaps, gas-filled landscapes, death traps, God is present.

Where can I go from your Spirit
or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand will lead me
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
(Psalm 139:7-10, NRSV)

Places like the Pacific Ocean Floating Garbage Dump and Canada’s asbestos mines come to mind. God is there. Where we have gone astray in our mission to care for God’s creation, I’m sure his heart grieves–but he is still at places like Chernobyl, the growing Sahara sand waste, and the garbage dumps and toxic streams of the world. And he calls us to be a part of his redemption of creation.

Then there are those places that are naturally horrible places to visit–mud volcanoes, lava fields, snake-infested islands. Yes, God is there too. And these are strange and uniquely wonderful (?) parts of God’s Earth.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still not going to spend my time dreaming of a holiday there!