by Timothy Wotring
Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.
If there was one Scripture that I’ve read more times in my life, other than John 3:16, it would be this one. Now, of course, my interpretation of this passage has changed over the years. And I no longer think as I did as a child that the first half of the passage is for my spiritual self and the second half is for how I interact with others.
Because I do believe and please Take Heart that neighbor is not just about the one who I am closest to, although that it is true, but that our neighbor is also the Earth and all who dwell here.
So I love God with my heart, not just by praying for Creation and for fossil fuel companies to repent of their Earth hurting ways, but also by praying with my hands when I plant tomatoes in my church’s rooftop garden.
And I love God with my heart, not just by weeping with those who weep or rejoicing with those who rejoice, but also by amplifying the voices of forefront communities who are affected the most by the effects of climate change.
And I can love God with my heart, not just by going to see the sick in the hospital, but also by being repairers of creation, advocating for Earth-justice, planting trees, and getting my friends and loved ones to join in the struggle.
As the great poet Sufjan Stevens once sang, “I use my hands to use my heart.”
And with this incredible witness that the Louisville to St. Louis walk to divest participants have shown us, it’s that sometimes you need to “Use your feet to use your heart.”
So let us continue to follow in the Way and to get in the way with our hearts on our sleeves, pushing for eco-justice, for an end to environmental racism, and a healthy Earth for us and generations after us!
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