Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Responsibility to Establish Good

We recognize that we are but a miniscule part of the divine order, yet within that order, we are exceptionally powerful beings, and have the responsibility to establish good and avert evil in every way we can. We also recognize that –We are but one of the multitude of living beings with whom we share the Earth;We have no right to oppress the rest of creation or cause it harm; Intelligence and conscience behoove us, as our faith commands, to treat all things with care and awe (taqwa) of their Creator, compassion (rahmah) and utmost good (ihsan). -Islamic Declaration on Climate Change
We chose three themes to highlight the World Food Day commemoration in Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon, October 16, 2016.  We observed the occasion with songs, a shared meal and prayers.

Two faith communities prepared prayers around each of the themes of economic justice (Hindu-Protestant), immigration and refugees (Baha'i-Buddhist), and climate change (Roman Catholic-Muslim). The actual prayers do not necessarily have a direct connection with the theme, which is presented at the beginning of each set of reflections. Here is the climate change prayer prepared by Joan Brown, OSF, and led by Rev. Sylvia Miller-Mutia, followed by the second of the three reflections.

Reflection and Prayer upon food/hunger and Climate Change
Leader: Creative and holy Love brought forth this awesome garden of life that we share, and yet, our eyes are blinded to the gifts. Our lifestyles of unconscious overconsumption lead us to be separated from the beauty and wonder around us. Climate Change is changing our world and causing many to suffer. May we come to know the challenging invitation of this moment that calls each of us to have a climate change of heart and soul to inspire profound action for life.

All: Open our eyes, ears, and hands to act in love and justice as we walk in solidarity with those who are hungry and those who hunger for justice.
The part of the service opened with The Cry of the Poor, a song composed by John Foley, a Jesuit. Meg Aschroft, a Norbetine oblate at Santa Maria de la Vid Norbertine Abbey, composed verses appropriate to our theme on World Food Day. Sarah Muhammad from the Islamic Center of New Mexico followed with two readings. Nada Abdel Hack, also from the Islamic Center of New Mexico, followed with a reflection. Finally, Patrick O'Meara from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church read two excerpts from Laudato Si, the encyclical letter on the environment that Pope Francis published in May 2015.

(Note: This video becomes vertical when you click play)

The Cry of the Poor: (led by Meg Ashcroft, O.Praem.Obl.)  
Music and refrain copyright 1978, 1991, John B. Foley, S.J., and OCP. All rights reserved.

Refrain: The Lord hears the cry of the poor, Blessed be the Lord. 

Verses: Will we see the face of God in the plight of the hungry and the poor, threatened by drought and rising tides, hoping to live in peace on Earth. 

When we respect creation as blessed, and see all God made as good, we’ll receive grace to help restore Nature’s beauty and vitality.

As disciples of God’s loving care, and stewards of desert, sea and air, we are called to safeguard God’s gift that all may have enough to live.

Sarah Muhammad
Readings from the Q’uran: Sarah Muhammad, Islamic Center

Surah 9:12-16
And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?
It is the freeing of a slave
Or feeding on a day of severe hunger
An orphan of near relationship
Or a needy person in misery

Surah 6:99
And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees - of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Reflection on the words of the Prophet 
Nada Abdel Hack Islamic Center

 One day A Bedouin came to the Prophet (Pbuh) and said to him, “O, Messenger of Allah! I’ve come to ask you a few questions about the affairs of this life and the Hereafter.” The Prophet responded “Ask what you wish!”

The Bedouin said, “I’d like to be the most learned of men.”...The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Fear Allah, and you will be the most learned of men.”...The Bedouin said, “I wish to be the richest man in the world.”...The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Be contented, and you will be the richest man in the world.”...The Bedouin said, “I’d like to be the most just man.”...The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Desire for others what you desire for yourself, and you will be the most just of men.”...The Bedouin said, “I want to be the best of men.”...The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Do good to others and you will be the best of men.”   Here is a link to the full text

Quotes from Pope Francis from Laudato Si
Patrick O’Meara, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Climate change disproportionately affects the poor. Climate change’s worst impact, Pope Francis says, “will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to (global) warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.” This environmental inequality creates a strange economic phenomenon: Poor countries are often financially indebted to rich countries. The world has what Pope Francis calls a “social debt towards the poor … because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.”

Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. (Laudato Si, Chapter 6, paragraph 217) Chant sung by all: Open our hearts that all may be fed….

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