I woke up in the middle of the night. When this happens, and to my growing irritation it happens frequently, it is for no good reason. Not last night, though.
One Earth. One God. That was the gist of last night’s dream. And those words wove themselves into the remaining four fitful hours of “sleep,” telling me that all faith traditions must pull together and respond as one to the crisis our earth faces. I know this dream was informed by the story of the Dakota Access Pipeline on PBS Newshour (9/16/16) and the powerful response of over 100 Native American tribes from all over the United States who converged at the Standing Rock Reservation in support of one another.
One Earth. One God. We have a unique opportunity to share our traditions, our respect for the Earth, our creeds and our creation stories for the good of the world.
The words, One Earth. One God are a way to think about an ecumenical response to the crisis that is rapidly unfolding in every corner of our planet. While we can do little more than passively experience climate change-related bizarre weather patterns, devastating storms and natural disasters, we can reject and stop the active and ongoing destruction of human and animal habitats and subterranean ecosystems by curbing our relentless appetite for fuel. If we wanted to, we could stop this.
In March of this year, I awoke in the middle of the night with a crystal clear understanding of God’s plan for creation. Really. It was as if someone turned on every light in the house and I could see without my glasses. I cycled the idea in my semi-sleep hoping it would find a place to settle until the morning when I could have a better look.
The majority of dreams vaporize. Our nocturnal wisdom dissolves, leaving us with disturbing traces, impossible to contain. This was no different. The following morning I tried to grasp its fleeting tendrils, but the only words I would write were “God’s plan is a complete reversal of what humans have come to believe is the natural order.”
Clearly, this is not a new idea. That the least shall be the greatest is at the center of the Gospels. At the time of my dream, it was Lent, and I was probably just rehashing what I was reading about the nature of God in the New Testament, that the Kingdom of God is revealed through the least expected, the poor, the small, the humble. The infant born in a barn, etc. It’s not a top-down world; it’s a bottom-up world.
The natural order is not the tree that drops the seed, it is the soil that allows the seed to sprout. But even soil needs to be disturbed for a seed to take root.
Isn’t it true that the material God uses is the ordinary, chaotic, unglamorous stuff? Doesn’t life begin one way or another in the dark?
Someone smarter than me once said ‘the bread can’t rise until the dough has time to rest.’ In the same way, it seems that our collective desire for change grows out of that kneading of life’s scraps, old jewelry and gravel, joy and heartache, injustices and kindness, successes and fatigue, strings and bits and morsels, late night talks, desperation and loneliness, and thirst. Everything is mixed together and kept alive like a succulent with spritzes of Holy water.
In that enormous pile, like in the dough, mysterious happenings are taking place. And no matter how many times the powerful of the world punch the dough down, it will always rise up in new and surprising ways.