Listening to the media report on the destructive burning of the great Notre Dame Cathedral, triggered many thoughts about what humanity considers important. This human build structure has historic significance and is recognized worldwide for its architectural design and religious symbolism. Constructed 800 years ago and full of valuable art objects, this building has been visited by millions of people annually hoping to experience the renewal of their religious values. This catastrophic event received monumental media coverage and surfaced the emotions of millions of people worldwide. Before the flames could be extinguished, commitments to rebuild were being expressed by church and government leaders. Within 24 hours, millions of dollars were pledged, by wealthy individuals and groups, for the rebuilding of this iconic Cathedral. Being constructed by humans, the majestic structure can and will be rebuild regardless of cost and the symbol of European Catholicism will again attract the masses. The loss of this historic structure is a tragedy but, it will be reborn as a new holy monument to hopefully, remind the people of their religious foundation and beliefs.
My thoughts were directed to the differences between our human reaction to this catastrophic event and the current alienation humans appear to feel about the greatest structure ever created, planet Earth. The Universe functions through relationships and Earth is the sustenance of all life systems, represented by almost 10 million different species. Earth is symbolically burning and the rate of spread is accelerating as human demands increase daily. Earth is not human created and no amount of money or effort can rebuild this majestic creation, which we are destroying. We have relied on religious teachings to understand the story of creation and Earth certainly should instill stronger spiritual emotions and beliefs than the Notre Dame Cathedral. This devastating event should remind us of our religious foundation, the relationships with our natural world and our responsibilities to care for the greatest gift ever created. Just one day after the disaster, the media is spending hours talking about the iconic religious structure, its symbolic history and the emotional experience one feels when visiting. Numerous vigils are being held to mourn the loss of this structure. Earth should arouse similar, if not stronger, sacred feelings as it represents almost five billion years of history and the 650 million years of the evolutionary development of our own species. I have never heard of a vigil being held to mourn or call attention to the destructive actions impacting Earth!
The story of Creation includes the unbelievable ability for renewal, which we witness every year with the spring re-birth of life which follows the winter cleansing by the white snows. Unfortunately, the destruction of planet Earth can not be re-constructed by humans. Our only hope is to re-kindle our spiritual emotional relationship we share with Mother Earth so we feel the same concerns for our natural world, which we appear to have for human made iconic religious structures. This must be followed by a commit to carry out our stewardship responsibilities. Imagine what we could do for future generations if we had the spiritual and emotional concerns for the structure that truly supports life, Mother Earth. What changes and solutions could we initiate if we were willing to contribute the same financial resources to reduce the human adverse impacts currently destroying earth and our natural world? How do we re-establish the required emotional and spiritual relationship with Earth? Why do human made symbols become more sacred than the sustenance of life? The Bible begins by introducing us to the story of creation and our responsibilities for care-taking but, ends with the destiny of creation. It is our own species that will depend upon our willingness to establish our priorities and determine the true iconic shrine that deserves our emotional and spiritual focus. Success demands looking past our focus on individualism, to the power of relationships! Everything is connected and nothing is its self without everything else! The only difference between humans and the 10 million other organisms is the human soul, the ability to live a moral life, understand right from wrong and redeem our stewardship responsibilities! The future of our species depends upon us!