Focus Text: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
Pastoral Reflection by Rev. Brian Cole, Cathedral of All Souls, Asheville
In North Carolina, we have begun to pay more attention to the quality of our air and water and how our daily practices, both individually and corporately, can contribute either to environmental degradation or restoration. But my time in India impressed upon me the reality that my concern for clean air and water cannot stop at the state line.
In Ezekiel, we hear the cry of God for God’s sheep throughout the land and nations. As a shepherd, God makes connections across lands and regions where we have, time and time again, made divisions. For too long, we have defined health with a too limited view as to who my neighbor is and who my fellow sheep are.
Why all the concern about sustainability? Modern industrial agriculture is having unanticipated consequences. Family farmers, rural communities, the quality of our water, the safety of our food, and true food buying choices all are being harmed. Since the 1970s, organizations have formed at the state and local level – public, private, and non-profit – to create and support a more ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just system of agriculture. Sustainability affects us all.