CARING FOR THE EARTH
Since returning from Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City in October, I’ve been sharing with the congregation about my observations and experiences there. I shared on Sunday about a concern that I heard from many of the religions represented there: We MUST take better care of the Earth! An indigenous woman from Canada began her presentation with these words: “What is sin? We don’t have a word for “sin” in our language.” She then went on to say something like this: “If we have to talk about sin, then the worst sin is abusing Mother Earth.”
There are a lot of ways to understand the meaning of sin in the Bible, and many ways the Christian Church has taught about sin over the past 2,000 years. Since the Greek word most commonly used in the New Testament is hamartia, I think that’s a good starting point. It is a term borrowed from archery, and it means “missing the mark.” Every archer aims for the bullseye in practice, the middle and smallest concentric circle on the “mark.” If he misses all of the circles and scores no points, he is said to have “sinned.” The word later came to be used in a moral sense, meaning “missing the mark.”
After hearing many speakers in Utah talk about the state of our planet, I am convinced that we have missed the mark when it comes to caring for this home on which we live and which is the source of all life. Our Scriptures are filled with examples of how God created the world and has abundantly blessed us with all that the Earth offers us. May we be committed to caring for our precious home so that future generations will be able to experience those same blessings. As you commit to caring for the Earth, I invite you to answer this question: What will you do this week to care for and nurture the Earth? I hope you will tell me what you came up with…and what you did!
Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana