Rachel Crandell Sustainability
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To quote Edward O. Wilson in his book The Future of Life he begins, "The totality of life, known as the biosphere to scientists and creation to theologians, is a membrane of organisms wrapped around Earth so thin it cannot be seen edgewise from a space shuttle, yet so internally complex that most species composing it remain undiscovered." Scientists have described almost 1.7 million species on our planet, yet it is predicted that there are anywhere between 10 million to 100 million species, almost all of which are not known, named or studied. The web of interconnectedness is so complex and not yet understood that we need to be careful not to disrupt or eradicate them before we know their function.

Felix Houphouet-Boigny, former president of the Ivory Coast, once said, "Man has gone to the moon, but he does not yet know how to make a flower, a tree or a bird song. Let us keep our dear countries free from irreversible mistakes which would lead us in the future to long for the same birds and trees."

The world has need of our prayers. People of faith have much to contribute to the healing of our planet. Earth Day is a good reminder to recycle, plant trees, pick up litter, feed birds, restore stream banks, etc. But the real solution for the sustainability of our planet is a spiritual one, turning to the power of prayer to heal and restore.

We are going to talk about healing, not just people, but nature, plants and animals, the biosphere, resources and how we can pray effectively to see what God already knows about all this. I love to think of prayer as changing things into thoughts, that is, spiritualizing my thinking about whatever presents itself as out of whack, unwise, diseased, violent, polluted, unjust and seeing through the problem to the truth of being.

As a Christian Scientist, I turn often to the Bible for spiritual answers to problems.

There are a couple of verses in Genesis that are key to understanding sustainability. Let's look more closely at the often quoted statement about creation, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." These verses have been used over the centuries as theological justification for exploiting creation for man's profit. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy gives this spiritual insight. "Man, made in His likeness, possesses and reflects God's dominion over all the earth. Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God." (Science and Health, page 516:20) As the image of Father-Mother God, we reflect God's dominion. What would Father-Mother God's dominion look like? Wouldn't it be loving rather than destructive? Wouldn't it be supportive rather than exploitive? Wouldn't it be eternal rather than short term? Sustaining rather than depleting? Didn't the manna and feeding the 5,000 demonstrate God's dominion for man?


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