I looked up the word stubborn in the dictionary this week and found my picture next to the definition. In Hosea 11, God accuses his people of being like undisciplined teens – the more you love them the further they pull away.
Psalm 8 and the Genesis creation story reveal something that can only be learned from revelation: that our dominion over all creatures, as well as, our responsibility for the environment, is not something humanity gained by evolving into the top position in terms of intelligence, nor have we conquered the earth by our own might, ecological dominion is instead a gift, a matter of grace from our creator. This is why Pope Francis’ voice on climate control is a significant addition to the debate. Many have stopped listening to the scientists who say that our carbon emissions have already raised the average temperature of the planet, and unless checked, will create chaotic weather, dramatic climate changes that will threaten the world food supply, and raised sea levels, that in time, will flood our coastal cities. Those in authority receive this bad news much as an alcoholic receives the advice that he should stop drinking. Facts are not enough. The Bible tells us, however, that to abandon our role as wise managers of the planet is sin.
Psalm 8 has three striking lines:
Verse 2: Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
The Lord God led the people for forty years in the wilderness in order to bring them to the only land in the Middle East that doesn’t have oil. Still, it was a pretty good Promised Land. It had pomegranates and figs. It had copper and affordable housing. But, what Deuteronomy 8:7-17 fails to mention is the location. They say that the three most important assets of any piece of real-estate are location, location, and, Location. Palestine had that in spades.
God set his beloved people up at the cross-road of the ancient world. A prime location. They weren’t given a quiet cul-de-sac. Medieval mapmakers called Jerusalem the navel of the world. There is a certain responsibility that comes from being in the center of things. The role of the hub is to keep the wheel intact. Even today, many of us wish that Israel would move from it’s current snapping turtle-like, defensive posture, to a more collaborative role in the politics of the region. Would the Arab Spring have gone better, if Israel had played a more supportive role in aiding the new democracies?