john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK




    Harvest

    Blue Coat School 02/10/2002

    Psalm 104

    Who does the earth belong to? It may seem like an odd question but itıs very important.

    You could say that most of the troubles in the world are caused by this question. People fight over land - sometimes thatıs next-door neighbours arguing over a tree thatıs overhanging a fence, sometimes thatıs a war over who should control the worldıs oil supplies, which is whatıs causing all the fuss about Iraq at the moment.

    Who does the earth belong to? Itıs an important question because the answer will decide how the earth is going to be treated.

    If we think the earth belongs to us - and so exploit it to make ourselves richer and richer - then the earth will suffer.

    As the forests fall in Kenya so the waters which depend on them fall. The logging companies make bigger and bigger profits as the people become thirstier and thirstier.

    If we think the earth belongs to us - but that we are partners with other people, animals and other members of nature - then the earth will be treated with kindness.

    The Ba-aka, or 'Pygmy' tribe move quietly through the forests of Congo when they are hunting and gathering, taking only what they need, and enjoy a varied diet of meat, fish, honey, nuts and various fruit, which they share responsibly together.

    If we think the earth belongs to God - and has given it to us in all its beauty and wonder, to look after it and celebrate it - then we will treat the earth with reverence.

    A gathering of young Christians and Jews got together to look at the scriptures to see how they addressed the ecolgical issues of today. As a result they rewrote the Ten Commandments, beginning:

      I am the Lord your God who have created heavens and earth. Know that you are my partner in creation; therefore, take care of the air, water, earth, plants and animals, as if they were your brothers and sisters.
    Who does the earth belong to? It's a good question to ask at Harvest time, which we can really enjoy only if we put God at the centre.
      Not ours, O Lord, but yours;
      The earth belongs to you.

      We mine the copper, gold and iron.
      We take the minerals from the earth,
      Coal, wood and water; soil and clay.
      We use these gifts from day to day
      But
      Not ours, O Lord, but yours;
      The earth belongs to you.

      From orchard trees and soft brown earth,
      From bush and cane, from branch and stalk,
      From rivers, seas and grinding mill
      We take all good things as we will
      But
      Not ours, O Lord, but yours;
      The earth belongs to you.

      We marvel at the swelling seas,
      We gaze into the night-time sky,
      By painterıs brush or poetıs tongue
      We think they all to us belong
      But
      Not ours, O Lord, but yours;
      The earth belongs to you.

    Kenyan forests reference from The Ecologist, March 2002. [back]
    Ba-aka reference from 'We the World' activity pack, Survival International. [back]
    Ten Commandments reference by Barbara Wood, and The earth belongs to you poem by Donald Hilton from Geoffrey Duncan (ed), Dare to Dream. [back]