Originally published in the Loudoun Times-Mirror, April 21, 2010.
As you celebrate Earth Day this week, I invite you to pray in the words of The Rev. Kofi Appia-Kubi of Ghana, who has long since returned to the womb of Mother Earth.
Oh, Mother Earth! We are fully dependent on you.
It is you who received us with your open arms at birth while we were yet naked.
You supply our daily wants with your rich resources. Indeed, you nurture us throughout our earthly life. And when death finally snatches us away, you will still be there to open up your womb and receive us back.
Yet, look what we have done to your loving kindness in return; we have raped, polluted, exploited and wasted your rich gifts. We have treated you with greed and disrespect. Your gifts are monopolized by a few at the expense of the many.
We have grasped the meaning of the atom bomb and lost the meaning of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We have indeed become nuclear giants but ethical infants; we reach out to the moon and to Mars while ignoring our earthly duties.
We have continually broken our covenant with you; we have abandoned the ethics of learning to live with nature; rather, we have tried to conquer it. So our waters putrefy, our environments stink, our fish and animals die, we are plagued by diseases; the whole creation groans! Mountains erupt and swallow our homes like a roaring lion; we are drowned by flooding rivers and oceans! They elude our scientific knowledge.
We stand open-mouthed and repeatedly ask, “How long, how long, how long—oh, Mother Earth?”
We have sinned against you and the Spirit of creation! We forget that our use of your gifts reflects our spiritual, social and economic well-being. Our unjust use of your gifts has brought about economic and ecological disaster. We are plagued by spiritual and social decay.
How do we expect to do violence to ourselves and to the earth without inviting social, spiritual and environmental chaos?
Our constant plea, therefore is, “Mother Earth, forgive, forgive, forgive!”
For the legs of the hen do not kill the chicks.
PEACE! SALAAM! SHALOM! SATYAGRAHA!
(Adapted from a prayer of the Rev. Kofi Appiah-Kubi, published in “Doing Theology in a Divided World,” Orbis Books, 1985, pp. 163,64.)