From the entry for the 22nd April, in Growing Hope daily readings, compiled by Neil Paynter, published by Wild Goose 2006.
To be a creature, one among many, is to come face to face with our limitations. We are not God, and God is not just an idealized version of us. God is other, and speaks to us in other voices. Our judgement of the world, sometimes expressed as if we had a monopoly on divine truth, is, in truth, that which holds us most to account. In Micah 6, the prophet calls the people as if to a court of law to listen to what God is saying, and this is what God the plaintiff says: ‘Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear you voice. Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and He will contend with Israel."
There can be no clearer indication anywhere in scripture that to be a creature in covenant is to be required to be in right relationship not only with our own human kind, but with the whole creation. Justice is also eco-justice. And how, then, will the mountains judge us? Will the enduring foundations of the earth find in our favour?
And we are discovering the earth is making its own judgements…it may be no exaggeration to say that we are at a kairos, a defining moment in human history. In the midst of a hugely accelerated pace of change, we are confronting in equal measure unparalleled opportunities and unparalleled threats. Significant parts of the human population, particularly in the West, are healthier, wealthier and enjoy greater opportunities for self-realization than ever before. At the same time, the gap between rich and poor is growing, huge parts of humanity live on the margins of destitution, uprooted peoples number tens of millions and wars and pandemics devastate dozens of countries. Social and political institutions everywhere are changing and once powerful ideologies have lost their hold. The fabric and future of life itself is facing commodification and, on one hand, the wealth of consumer nations and, on the other, the poverty of energy and resource-poor countries, have caused an ecological holocaust which threatens the continuation of the planet.
In the last 25 years alone, the human species has destroyed one third of its non-renewable resources. Our actions have consequences: the destruction of rainforests leads to global warming, the pollution of lakes destroys localised eco-systems;….floods drown and bring diseases in their wake. How will the mountains judge us? I think we are beginning to hear the answer.