The Rector's Blog
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September 29, 2016, 12:00 AM

In the beginning everything was "tov."


O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BCP 840

In the Old Testament reading for last week, Jeremiah describes how he purchased land in the town of Anathoth from his cousin Hanamel.

This takes place as Babylon’s army is at the gates of Jerusalem and Jeremiah is confined in jail by King Zedekiah.  Jeremiah sees this action as desired by God, and as a sign of hope for the future, when property will once again be bought and sold in the land of the children of God.

The transfer of land from one to another is here a sacred act.  It is made in the sure knowledge God has not abandoned God’s people.

To many indigenous peoples, it is not just the transfer of land that is sacred; the land itself is sacred, and so is the water, so is the air, so is the grass, so are the trees, and everything that has breath. 

That idea is in harmony with Biblical thought.  In Genesis we hear God declare all creation “tov.”  Blogger Nathan Albert says “tov” means: Good, beautiful, working the way it is created to work.  He also writes: 

“In the beginning, everything was tov. Creation was tov.  People were tov. Humanity’s relationship with God was completely tov.  Everything in creation was working the way God intended.  It was good and beautiful.

“Yet, as we know, something happened. The tov people stopped believing God was tov.  They thought they could become like God themselves.  Eventually, they stopped living a tov life.  They no longer treated all of creation as if it was tov.  Quickly, creation started to unravel. Everything tov became very un-tov.”

(http://naytinalbert.blogspot.com/2013/01/tov-good-beautiful-working-way-its.html)

Out in North Dakota, native peoples from across the country, with support from around the world, are protesting the building of a pipeline to carry crude from the Bakken Oil Fields to Iowa and the Gulf Coast.  The pipeline route would cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock Reservation, which could break and destroy their water supply.

They see themselves as Water Protectors – as standing up for that which cannot speak for itself, for the sacred water of life, which all life needs to survive, thrive, and grow.

++Michael Curry agrees with them.  He visited the Sacred Stone camp of the Water Protectors this week, and delivered a powerful message of support, saying, as in the extract of Ms Cordova’s poem quoted at left, “We are children of the same Mother. We are children of the same Father.”

You can watch his statement here:

https://youtu.be/tygYLLhFVDw

More information is posted here:
http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/09/27/presiding-bishop-tells-standing-rock-protectors-the-way-of-jesus-honors-the-water/


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