One of the lines from the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell is “something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.” I look at the miraculous developed world in which we live and marvel at what we’ve gained. I can buy fresh ocean fish in Denver and eat fruit in any season because of the vast economic, technological, political machine in which we reside.
I can go anywhere I want by pushing a plastic card into a machine and dispensing a liquid that will allow my car to drive 400 miles. I can get pills to protect me from the diseases that even 100 years ago might have killed me and even cure my body when it has turned against me in the form of heart disease or cancer.
We, the privileged, have gained a lot. But what have we lost? Even in my life time I have seen humanity more deeply insulated from its roots. We try to separate ourselves from the fact that we live in a universe that is so vast and dangerous that our existence could be ended by a single misplaced asteroid. We have developed a generation that believes, a least on a sub-conscious level, that our sustenance comes from stores and our healing comes doctors and hospitals. A generation that believes our energy comes from a plug in the wall and our mobility from a dispensing machine on the corner.
We are disconnected from the hard and powerful reality, lulled by our artificial environment into a belief that all things come from humans and that the way of nature is concrete highways, and warm comforting houses. We have separated ourselves as a world from the ways that we can see and understand the miracle of creation.
Why are we separated from God? Why are we living in spiritual darkness? Our true fragile cosmic reality has been cut off and we are preaching that salvation resides in economic power. In the meantime our souls are dying.
In Psalm 8:3,4 King David says “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, Human beings that you care for them?” It was a critical question in the day of David and it is a critical question now. Yet we have generations who cannot even see the stars, generations who have never experienced the miracle of putting a seed in the ground and gathering a harvest. It is no wonder that we are collectively lost and lonely.
What is “The Land?” It is something completely unique. It is an attempt to bring the insulated people of the suburbs back to an understanding that “All things come from Thee Oh. Lord.” (1 Chronicles 29:14). Whether they understand it in the light of our Judea-Christian theology or whether they just understand it in the depth of their souls “in groaning that cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26). This is a chance to share the understanding that we live through the grace of God. It is a way to rediscover and share the spirituality that is at the core of our being.
This is “The Land.” It is a reconnection to the source and with that comes the realization that we are charged with the care of the earth. We must treat these gifts with the care that will sustain our children and our children’s children. We must contemplate how these free gifts of God are distributed? Do we live where people do not have access to food or access to the land God gave us to share? Do people have access only to food processed into conglomerates of salt, fat and sugar that leave our bodies as well as our souls malnourished? Are people suffering from a spiritual emptiness that cannot find rest until it rediscovers the true source of all things. (St. Augustine of Hippo paraphrased).
We have an opportunity, at the end of countless miracles, to offer to people cut off from the understanding of the core of all reality a reconnection. We have a way to inspire them to respect and preserve our earth. We have a way to see firsthand the beauty of food as it comes from the ground and to consider how we allow the gifts of God to be distributed. We have an opportunity to help people understand their connectedness to all that is and find deep spiritual meaning in that connection. This is the promise of “The Land.”