Day 39: Our Work Will Be Unfinished
BY MADDIE LAFORGE | April 4, 2020
Outrage boiled up within me, making my skin hot and my hair stand on edge. I was nestled in the hills of West Virginia, kneeling in Bethlehem Farm’s garden.
Holding a fresh, new sweet potato plant
Smelling the sweet, rich earth
Feeling the warm sun on my face
I closed my eyes and breathed in God’s sanctuary
Then I opened my eyes.
I saw a cloud of smoke rising just above those beloved mountains.
I heard the machines, drilling into the rock to make space for the natural gas pipeline
Many people are unaware of how violently we treat Appalachia. Surface mining and fracking destroy mountains. The ecosystem is devastated, the air and water contaminated.
We as a nation close our eyes.
We distance ourselves from this land and people,
blindly unaware of the damage being done
in the name of development, progress, business, comfort
We are a divided nation, scattered so much that we forget that we belong to each other
We forget God’s promise
We are God’s people
This land is not only for us
It’s for our children
The prophet Ezekiel calls us to open our eyes
We see our broken nation. We see violence and destruction.
As people of faith, we also see God’s vision.
Often, that vision seems far beyond our reach.
But we trust that the God who keeps promises will help us to do something and to do it well.
Our work will be unfinished.
But we choose to put our stock in the everlasting covenant.
It is this radical hope that turns our mourning into joy, our lament into action.
We may not be able to reunite a divided nation.
But with faith in the God who gathers up, we can come a little closer.
During Lent, how can you come closer to the earth and your neighbors?
Maddie LaForge, M.Div., is a New Orleans native currently residing in Denver, CO. She teaches theology at Regis Jesuit High School. Her love for the classroom goes back to her time as a Jesuit Volunteer at Colegio Miguel Pro in Tacna, Peru. Maddie is a graduate of Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology and Spring Hill College.
Nice reflection Maddie. Thanks. Like all normal vocations, the vocation of a prophet is to keep working. In time to come, the Lord will raise new prophets to voice the concerns of Mother Earth, and all that is privileged to dwell on it.
Beautiful reflection. The imagery was very well presented. Your love for the region shines through. I also enjoyed the unrelenting hope with a dose of pragmatism.
Thank you, Maddie!
I do not believe that this virus comes from God as a punishment for anything. But I do believe that it comes as a wake up call to we who have decimated and insulted the earth. I believe that many of our illnesses and diseases are a result of our refusing to partner with our ecology, with the environment. God will lead us through this, hopefully to a place where we understand our responsibilities. Meanwhile I will speak out, sign petitions, write letters, talk and pray about it. We need to understand that we are a part of the planet, a part of the earth, not separate from it.
Beautiful Maddie, thank you. I’m an octogenarian and can’t get out to do much, but I’m going to plant my veggie garden soon. And I’m going to spread your meditation widely.
Thanks for this. It is very comforting.
We don’t have to be famous or important. God gave each of us the power to speak and we should use it to improve the quality of life of others we might not even know. As long as we stand for justice we should continue our work no matter how old or feeble we might be.
Beautiful, Maddie! Thank you.