Thought for the Week, August 13 2021

Reverend Simon Mackenzie. a04_FatherSimon01
Reverend Canon Simon Mackenzie, Lochgilphead Scottish Episcopal Church.

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I drove across the Erskine Bridge last week and was astounded to see the north bank of the Clyde parched and brown as the African savannah.

This is our share, here on the west coast, of a planet on fire.

How have we let this happen? To inflict such violence on our Mother Earth? And – like all violence in the end – on ourselves?

Those who commit abuse have usually been raised in violence. That is how they experienced family love – it is all they know. So what violence have we experienced to become such perpetrators?

Spirituality is at the heart of the answer. Underlying our crisis lies a false image of God. And of not-God.

If reality is chemical and mechanical, we shall try to take control: we know best.

If the market-place is reality, we shall cheat and steal.

If reality is violent, arbitrary and unjust, we shall be the same.

If the god we envisage only rewards those he thinks worthy, and punishes the unworthy, we in imitation shall build a society where the unemployed and mentally ill are cast aside into penury and homelessness and strangers are victimised. And the earth burns.

But the true image is of a love shaped through the mysteries of menstruation and ovulation; through the ecstatic joy of sucking at the breast.

It is a helpless, infant love, warmed by the sweet breath of feeding cattle; which sinks beneath the river waters among the fish and water-weeds and under the earth as food for microbes and fungi. And among the dead, to enliven their spirits.

If we hold that love, that beauty, that truth to our hurt spirits, it can renew us, and in us, the face of the earth.

Reverend Canon Simon Mackenzie, Lochgilphead Scottish Episcopal Church.