More than 3,000 years ago the Hebrews were led out of Egypt through a series of events which they recognized as miraculous. They crossed the Red Sea and began walking through the great deserts of the Sinai Peninsula. Their goal was to enter the land promised centuries earlier to their forefather Abraham, the land of Canaan along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.
The desert was an overwhelming challenge for them, yet by another series of unanticipated events they found each crisis had an answer. They recognized all those answers as miracles granted by God. Finally came the time when they were in place to make their entry into the Promised Land. But they chickened out. Sending a couple of spies ahead, they learned that the peoples through whose land they would have to pass were big and strong. Despite all the miracles they had witnessed so far, when the real door was opened before them, they feared that God would not be able to handle the challenge.
They were left in the desert another 40 years, with only three of the original adults — Moses and the two spies, Joshua and Caleb — still living when the next generation finally accepted God’s call and marched into the Promised Future.
Whether you accept the story as literal — which I do — or as a figment of imagination, the lesson is clear enough: When you fear the future, you condemn yourself to die wandering aimlessly in a wilderness.
Now think of the various “populist” movements around the world, including here in the US. Think of what the Republican Party has become and of what kind of president we have elected. Consider the health of the planet, a state of health which has taken years to achieve and is now being threatened by so-called “conservatives.” These conservatives have nothing worth conserving because they stand only for fear, not the future.
Fear did not serve the Hebrews well and fear will not serve us well. We can consciously and deliberately shape our future not by trying to retreat from it back into some imagined safety of yesterday’s world but by carefully and wisely — faithfully and prayerfully — moving ahead.
Trump and the Republican leaders, opposed to taxes and regulations but supporting whatever increases the wealth of the already wealthy, are not leaders but plain, simple, shortsighted cowards.
My little corner of the world is the Evangelical church. On this, the 48th Earth Day, I call upon all who claim to trust the Bible to read Genesis 1 again and again, very carefully and attentively, until you understand that the Creator did not give away the planet to us but entrusted it to us as caretakers. it is to our very great shame that we have not only failed to take the lead in being earthkeepers but have frequently been quite loud in our resistance to our responsibility.
Because of our negligence, it is again becoming time to pull out our old signs that proclaim, “Repent: the end of the world in near.” Now, of course, it is clear that we ourselves are the earthkillers.