This picture of a threatened Florida scrub jay perched on Erin's hand is one of my favorite pictures from when we went to Venice, Florida on vacation in March. To me it is a beautiful expression of the hope that many of us hold that is one of God's gifts to us; a vision of peace between people and everything that has life.
In a statement directed to any and all living things that call this good earth home:
well-being and your well-being are so inextricably intertwined that the
only acceptable and reasonable course of action is to work for the
well-being of all living things and the places we call home.
My inspiration for that statement comes from these following words that are recorded as having been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah to the ancient Jewish community who was at that time exiled in the Babylonian Empire:
"Work for the peace and prosperity of the land where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7)
We are all living in a land of exile in the sense that as a global community we are far from the peace which God intends; peace among people and peace between people and everything else that has life.
I want to work for the peace of the land (and global community) in which I live, but there is a selfishness that lives in me which, when faced with my appetite for more and for better (even for convenience) I do what I don’t want to do; I find myself again and again a participant in the over-consumption, misuse, and abuse of life, land, and resources; this adds to the detriment of the land and all of its creatures and ultimately to myself.
But there is hope.
Thank God there is a power at work within us which has the strength to kill
my selfishness so that the death of my selfishness becomes the fertile
soil out of which a love which abounds for all of life may blossom and
bear fruit which brings to fruition in my life what I have always hoped for deep within my soul; that grand vision of peace among
people and peace between people and everything else that has life.
By the power of the love of God at work within us may it be so.
Change the desires of my heart, loving God, so it beats in tune with yours. May the power that raised Jesus from the dead find expression in my life; may the death of my selfish desires become the fertile soil out of which a love for all that has life emerges, and may this abounding love which you've brought to life in me produce an abundance of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as I work for the welfare of the land in which I've been placed. Amen.