Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day

We were out on the west coast for the weekend, and attended my mother-in-law's Anglican church. The priest advised the congregation that the service had been adapted to Earth Day and things got under way.

It seemed odd that the Anglican confession was left out. Anglicans refer to our sinful nature in pretty unambiguous terms:
We acknowldege and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable.
The concept of sin is having a tough time in churches these days, as it threatens to undermine self-esteem. So the fine words in the Book of Common Prayer were skipped over, even though the paragraph in question is not marked 'optional'.

Then there was a sermon, which was introduced with the comment that people out there were peddling fear, and we should not be fearful, because God is in charge. And after that, it was all downhill, because "clear-eyed scientists have peeked over the edge of the abyss" and, well, we're doomed... Turns out most of the sermon was cribbed from this post, entitled "From apocalypse to Genesis" and if anything is going to be called fear-mongering, this would be a good place to start. The sermon, and its source material, end with a poem by one Wendell Berry, who concludes with the decidedly un-Christian line "For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

So once again we get to return to our theme that there is a new religion out there, but this time I have evidence. We need not confess our sins to God, we need only confess them to the Earth, and receive her grace. Our real sins are eco-sins, not the general sins of "thought, word and deed, against thy Divine Majesty". And for grace, we need but rest in the grace of the world.

There is no more true power in this new god than in any of the old idols. But there is certainly the power to turn heads and hearts.

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