The Cry of the Earth

1“We are the children and inheritors of a culture that has banished God to heaven.  Early Christianity persecuted and ultimately largely extinguished any earth-based spirituality, and the physical world became a place of darkness and sin.  Then after the Age of Enlightenment, the prevailing world view that grew out of Newtonian physics framed the world as an inanimate mechanism we could easily master, indeed were meant to master; we simply needed to discover its laws to tame it to our own ends.  As a legacy of that view we have developed a materialistic culture that treats the earth as a commodity that exists to serve our own selfish purpose.  Our greed now walks with heavy boots across the world, with complete disregard for the sacred nature of creation.  We have cared only for our own material comforts and well-being, and as a result live in a dying world whose soul cries to us in despair.  And yet, because for centuries we have been taught to see ourselves as separate from the world and the world as just an object we should try to control, we have forgotten that it even has a soul.  We have cut ourselves off from the living world in all its interconnectedness.  Our Western culture no longer knows how to relate to the world as a sacred being.

Now the world needs our prayers more than we know.  It needs us to acknowledge its sacred nature, to understand that it is not just something to use and dispose of.  It needs us to help it reconnect with its own sacred source, the life-giving waters of creation that can save it from destruction.  It needs us to remember it to the Creator.”

           —  Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, in Prayer of the Heart in Christian and Sufi Mysticism

4 thoughts on “The Cry of the Earth

  1. Gnosticism portrayed the material world as a place haunted by darkness and sin, not Christianity, which has always held the world to have been created by God, who deemed it “good.” Christianity, being a sacramental religion, asserting as it does that God works through the material universe to the point of being incarnate within creation to save it from destruction, could not coherently embrace such Manichean principles. In his “Canticle of the Sun” St. Francis proclaimed the sanctity of “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon” as veritable icons of the Almighty, by which He reveals aspects of Himself to Man.

    The problem lies not in the Christian tradition, but in the epicurean materialism which reduces everything to the merely material, and makes ultimate good a matter of subjective comfort and contentment.

    • While this is true, Christianity as practiced as flirted with Gnosticism for a long time, particularly in some of its Protestant forms, which have tended to denigrate bodily and earthy activities as tainted by sin. The practical effect of this legacy has been a tendency for many Christians to believe that their faith is about getting to heaven, and not to worry too much about the world around them.

      • Okay, I’ll agree that there are some strains of Protestant Christianity that fit the description, and those strains have been prominent in America, but I think that it is fundamentally at odds with Christianity itself.

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