This fragile earth, our island home (BCP 1979)

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In 1972 I was in the seventh grade. Even then I was a wanna be artist and Mrs. Baxa, my classroom teacher, asked if I would design something for the bulletin board in the front of the classroom. Anything I wanted. A blank canvas, if you will. Like all the world in 1972, I was blown away by the photograph of the earth, taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 Space Mission, at a distance of 28,000 miles from earth. I’m told the image of earth, often called “The Blue Marble photograph” is one of the most reproduced images in human history. In my own rudimentary, but emerging artistic talent (lol!) I drew a three-foot circle of the earth hoping my classmates would see the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation. I’m not sure if I succeeded in that goal, but it is a photographic image I have never forgotten. The Blue Marble inspires me even today.

As part of its Liturgy, the Episcopal Church has several Eucharistic prayers. Eucharistic Prayer C is the most interactive of the Eucharistic prayers, seasoned with responses throughout the prayer between celebrant and congregation. As the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) states, this Eucharistic Prayer:

stresses the ongoing revelation of God to us, through nature, through the prophets, and ultimately through Christ.

The BCP continues that in Eucharistic Prayer C:

 … we see the ancient creation narrative of Genesis merged with modern scientific understandings of the vastness of the universe, culminating with a marvelous image of the planet on which we live, this fragile earth, our island home. Hardly the center of the universe as some medieval thinkers believed, we are instead floating along on our tiny island in the vast cosmos. Far from insignificant, we, like all of creation, are in the hands of a loving God.

In 1987, writer Julie Gold wrote a song which would, a few short years later, become Song of the Year when produced and recorded by Bette Midler. The song is called From a Distance. Julie Gold has stated that her song is about the difference between how things appear to be and how they really are. One of my favorite versions is recorded by Julie herself. It’s a recording devoid of all of the technology which makes much of music perfect. This version is inspiringly raw. Simple. Profound. If you need help remembering this song, click on this link:

 

 

I share this story about The Blue Marble, our “fragile earth, our island home,” because, as Julie Gold said so poignantly, there is a significant difference between how things may appear to be and how they really are. This past week has been pretty rough for lots of people; but not for everyone. For some, the events of this past week inspired them to take to the streets in protest against what they believe is wrong. For others, the results of the presidential election are hope for a new way forward.

On this magnificent, yet fragile island home, some of us live in Iceland, some in Indonesia, others in Russia, still others in the Middle East. Regardless of where you or I live, or who you or I voted for, this is the one home we all share together. Together we watch how things will unfold in regard to the new administration’s commitment to those Jesus referred to in Matthew’s Gospel as the “least of these” – the widow, the immigrant, the refugee, the orphan, the marginalized. What will the new administration’s commitment be to the environment – this fragile island home, to equality, and social justice? It is important to maintain hope and to stand strong in our common commitment to make the world a far better place for our children.

What’s our role in making the world a far better place for our children? As it is stated in the BCP Baptismal Promises, we will strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. That’s our work. Together, striving for justice and peace and respecting the dignity of every human being. May we all do just that for the children of the world who call this blue marble home.

Peace friends,

Chuck

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3 Comments

  • Mary Jane says:

    Dear Chuck,
    Thank you for your comments on the current thinking of so many and the reminder that hope is an essential and constant
    part of our faith. Many blessings in your ministry and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  • Marianne says:

    Chuck your words humble me. This has been a tough couple of weeks and I don’t see it getting easier. However, the perspective you bring is priceless. We who inhabit this blue marble are far more alike than we are different. Thank you for all you do, and for returning to your blog!!

  • Candy says:

    Fr. Chuck, this is an incredible meditation for posr election. Thank you. And I remember it well.
    I also remember when you played ‘Come Darkness, Come Light’ for your homily several Advents ago.
    And I assume that you have more freedom in the Episcopal church to use this one for the same purpose. Would love to be there.
    You are someone for whom I will be forever grateful.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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