Barbara Crafton, Camp Mitchell, the World, and Climate Change

Barbara Crafton, Camp Mitchell, and Climate Change

Portrait of Earth
Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, Marit Jentoft-Nilsen
"This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite collected the land surface data over 16 days, while NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) produced a snapshot of the Earth’s clouds." -- NASA
“How lovely. Oh, my.”
We are perched on the top of a mountain. I am sitting at a picnic table where I can overlook the valley below as the sun comes up -- a good place for Morning Prayer.
The antiphon I use most at Morning Prayer in the long months of ordinary time is this one: The earth is the Lord's, for He made it: Come, let us adore Him. Especially when I am reading it outside, or near an open window when the birds are singing in the half-dark. And especially today, here: the fields below us are several greens -- a piercing light one, a bluish dark one, a bright jewel one -- and the trees dot them like darker plumes. They delineate the fields, which you can see when you're as far above them as I am, marking out the quilt of cultivation and pasture, dividing land from land. The golden slant of the sun's rays as it rises creeps across the valley, turning the silver water of the lake golden and then leaving it behind, a rich blue.
One family owned this mountain, and the valley, too, I think. Now the Church owns it, and we can come here and live in this beauty for a day or two. All over the world you find these separate places, sacred places, kept for future generations of people in need of spiritual replenishment, needing to suck up some beauty to carry with us back into a world that can be an ugly place.
Make sure you get some time and find a place to lift your eyes to the world God has made and marvel at its beauty. If you are a pastor, make sure your people have an opportunity to do that this summer -- even if it's just a day trip by train to Jones Beach. If yours is a poor church, see if a rich one won't help you do this. The mountains, the sea, the trees -- we must experience how lovely it all is if we are to care enough to preserve it. The family that used to own this land didn't really own it, and the Church doesn't either. It all belongs to God, and it is given into our hands for our brief season on earth. Live in it at least once this summer, so that you do not forget it.
Where was I? Camp Mitchell, in the Diocese of Arkansas.”

Barbara Crafton, The Geranium Farm, June 2, 2017, The Geranium Farm, 53 McCoy Ave, Metuchen, NJ 08840,

I want to thank Barbara Crafton for allowing me to use everything from  her “almost daily eMo” today. It is the day after the president has discarded the Paris Agreement about Climate Change. My feet and body are no longer good for marching and I have what others have described as a soft “inside voice”, so all I know to do is write and write and read and write. I try to see the other side on issues and see where people are coming from, but this is too hard. I know I need to stay cool because what you do in the heat of the moment is not always productive. What I really want to do is send everyone David Brooks’ article from today’s New York Times, “Donald Trump Poisons the World”. Instead I send a writing by a favorite author whom I have never met on her several trips to Arkansas due to various circumstances. I did hear her once at Kanuga and was so grateful for that experience. She shares today a story from a place, Camp Mitchell, that has been sacred to our family for almost forty years as well and is reminding us of our connection to the rest of the earth by this amazing Portrait of the Earth. I am adding this picture from the chapel of Camp Mitchell.

I hope Barbara Crafton keeps writing, and my prayer is that all of us can keep listening to each other and keep writing and walking and listening and talking and sharing our sacred spaces that are now even more endangered.  One more idea comes to me. I am going outside with my grandchildren and let them tell me how much the world outdoors means to them.