No one is forgotten

I hold you in my hands
A little animal
And only some dumb idiot
Would let you go — Keane

On World Ani­mal Day, I would like to share a quo­ta­tion that I found in a book about ani­mal rights from Andrew Linzey. It is a vision that was record­ed by Julian of Nor­wich, a remark­able woman from the 14th cen­tu­ry who lived as a her­mit in Eng­land. The text is old Eng­lish and has an appro­pri­ate­ly mys­tic aura:

He showed me a lit­tle thing, the quan­ti­ty of an hazel-nut, in the palm of my hand; and it was round as a ball. I looked upon with eye of my under­stand­ing, and thought: What may this be? And it was answered gen­er­al­ly thus: It is all that is made. I mar­velled how it might last, for methought it might sud­den­ly have fall­en to nought for little[ness]. And I was answered in my under­stand­ing: It lasteth, and ever shall [last], for that God loveth it. And so All-thing hath the Being by the love of God.

In this Lit­tle Thing I saw three prop­er­ties. The first is that God made it, the sec­ond is that God loveth it, the third, that God keep­eth it.

Andrew Linzey remarks: “Per­haps God’s ‘keep­ing’ or stew­ard­ship may some­times appear absent because his deputies are so slow to work with his Spir­it and get down to busi­ness.” This theme also sur­faced dur­ing our church ser­vice last Sunday.

It was a spe­cial har­vest fes­ti­val ser­vice. I read in the litur­gy that this fes­ti­val was adopt­ed by the Church of Eng­land to give the Lam­mas fes­ti­val a place in the church. Lam­mas has very old roots and is still being cel­e­brat­ed by neo­pa­gan­ists. So this also warmed my inter­faith heart.

The vic­ar read a let­ter from bish­op Thabo from South-Africa. This is what he has to say about car­ing for the earth:

The root caus­es of envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems are greed and apa­thy, which are both spir­i­tu­al prob­lems. From colo­nial times through to the cur­rent era of neo-lib­er­al poli­cies, our busi­ness mod­els are based on max­i­miz­ing prof­it at the cost of work­ers and the earth.

Think­ing about the ani­mals in inten­sive farm­ing and the life that is suf­fo­cat­ed by our waste, this obser­va­tion of the bish­op also struck me:

The Bible calls us to be stew­ards of the Earth but I think we have left it too late. God is now call­ing us to become heal­ers of the Earth.

Juliana of Nor­wich saw how the love of God sus­tains the world. We need that love to heal the earth. A prayer from Pope Francis:

God of love, show us our place in this world
as chan­nels of your love
for all the crea­tures of this earth,
for not one of them is for­got­ten in your sight.