A (re)New(ed) Earth: Economics and the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time
"Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former Earth had passed away," Revelation 21:1-5A is a familiar passage from John's letters that sees regular use during many a funeral liturgy. Last week I did three funerals in 24 hours and was utterly exhausted. However, I did enjoy each of those celebrations of life, and the families that I worked with were delightful.
I find it funny that this reading appears in the lectionary for this Sunday in Easter because what it's begging us is something that the Pope has written about very recently.
Pope Francis has invited young economists and entrepreneurs to Assisi, Italy in March of 2020 to discuss building a new economy. While this might seem scary to those of us in the United States so centralized on capitalism, the two are not mutually exclusive. The new economy that I have to imagine Pope Francis might propose is one that uses our resources efficiently, builds a culture of life, and set a new precedent for Global health.
We as the people of God need to take our role in caring for creation sincerely. I have been making small steps for trying to beat Moore Earth-friendly.
For example, I used to purchase steamable vegetables from the grocery store. You know the ones that come in a vacuum-sealed bag that you can then throw in the microwave, and it will steam them in a few minutes. I love the convenience! But it dawned on me that it's all so detrimental to the environment. Those plastic bags are not recyclable! I purchased some steamable bags that are made by a small entrepreneur that are reusable. I can throw just a little bit of water, some frozen vegetables that I buy in bulk, and do the same process with much less waste!
That is a small example of how I helped a person's business grow; I also helped save portions of my Planet, the only home I'll ever know.
If we look at the strides made in renewable energy, what the fear is is that we won't have the ability to store said energy for when we need it. But these significant advances in Battery Technology, wind and solar development, hydropower, geothermal heating and cooling, and overall efficiency of our consumables, is creating a whole new economy.
What I wish people would stop fearing so much, is the change in Rapid development. When we talk about a new Earth, we're talking about renewing the Earth. The fear we have of making great leaps in technology should not scare us so much as we should tend to it as part of our creative process endowed by God.
Just think if the iPhone had not come out in 2007. That revolutionary device has changed the way that we operate in the world. And it combined Next Generation technology in a way that no one had conceived before it. To connect your mp3 player with your cell phone and internet communication device was unbelievable! And now it is unimaginable to live without it. That kind of thinking and innovation could bring about a new Earth!
How wonderful would it be for us to pass on to our children a self-sustaining Society? One where as we build homes those homes generate power and clean water. As we retrofit our current homes, they become sources of renewable life and not regular consumption. What would happen when after all of that investment pays off in the Next Generation? What will our grandchildren think of us? When all of their energy needs are almost free, and all of that Capital gobbled up by utility bills gets released into the economy. What kind of philanthropy, charity, economic growth, might further Humanity? What kind of a revolution would it be for those Industries?
As you go back and relook at those words from St John, imagine a new Heaven and a new Earth. A new Heaven that Jesus brought to us through His ministry to the real world. And a new Earth inspired by the creator's Divine balance.
What I'm proposing here is Pie in the Sky dreaming. But why not dream it? We are the only species known that can take an idea and turn it into real life? The question we have to ask ourselves is are we going to be afraid of ascending to Greatness as a human species the way that God intends us, or will we remain fearful of this beauty that lies on the other side of compassion, love, and dignity?
I can't wait to see what we decide! (and I'm praying for a better tomorrow!)