Today, in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving which, traditionally, has been a day set aside to thank God for the gifts of creation given to sustain and delight all (human and non-human) who by necessity participate in its goodness.
I’m currently reading “On Earth As In Heaven: The Ecological Vision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.” Bartholomew is also known as “the Green Pope” whose decades-long leadership of the Eastern Orthodox Church has been marked by deep, theo-logical attention to the trauma creation faces as a result of humanity’s rapacious treatment of the earth as a resource to be mined rather than a gift to be received.
“A person,” Bartholomew writes, “who loves the Creator of a given work will neither be disrespectful toward it nor maliciously harm it. Yet, at the same time, that person will surely not worship it and disregard the Creator. Rather, by honouring it, one honours its Creator.”
It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this day, odiously known to some as Columbus Day, is a difficult one for Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island whose way of respectful gratitude was run roughshod by the earth-and-society-plundering colonialism of Columbus and those who followed. I can’t help but think that reconciliation with creation and with Indigenous peoples world-over are issues connected by a common sin for which the cultivation of thankfulness is, in part, remedial.
I once wrote a two-line song: “Whoever loves God, loves all that God loves / Think about that.”
Today, in particular, is a good day to think about that.
Steve Bell / October 14, 2019
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