We are calling upon Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s teaching that addresses climate change and the extinction reality for our species and so many others in our time. Deep Ecumenism urges all peoples of all religions to pray and act for the common good, for the good of the planet, “our common home” (Pope Francis).
He offers the following meditation suggesting lighting candles as you read it. [Theshalomcenter.org]
Between the Fires:
A Kavanah (Prayer) for Kindling Candles of Commitment
We are the generations
That stand between the fires.
The burning crosses lit by hate
To choke our people in the smoke of terror;
Behind us the flame and smoke
That rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima.
Not yet behind us,
The burning forests of the Amazon,
Torched for the sake of fast hamburger and fast wealth.
Not yet behind us, the glare of gun fire
exploding in our children.
Not yet behind us –-
the hottest years of human history
That bring upon us
Melted ice fields. Flooded cities.
Scorching droughts. Murderous wildfires.
Before us we among all life-forms
face the nightmare of a Flood of Fire,
The heat and smoke that could consume all Earth.
“Here! The day is coming,”
Said the Prophet Malachi,
“That will flame like a furnace,
Says YHWH / Yahhhh —
The Infinite InterBreath of Life —
when all the arrogant, all evil-doers,
root and branch,
will like straw be burnt to ashes
in the fires that they set.
Yet for all who revere
My Interbreathing Name, Yahhhh,
a sun of justice will arise
with healing in the beating of its wings,
its rays, its winds.”
“Here! Before the coming
of the great and awesome day
of YHWH/ the Breath of Life,
I will send you the Prophet Elijah
to turn the hearts of elders to the youth
and the hearts of youth to elders,
lest I come and smite all Earth with utter desolation.”
Here! we ourselves are coming
Before that great and terrible day
Of smiting Earth —
For we ourselves shall turn the hearts
Of youth and elders to each other.
So that this day of smiting
Does not fall upon us.
We ourselves are coming
To douse that outer all-consuming fire.
We must light again in our own hearts
the inner fire of love and liberation
that burned in the Burning Bush —
The fire that did not destroy the Bush it burned in,
For love is strong as death —
Love’s Fire must never be extinguished–
The fire in the heart of all Creation.
We light these candles to make from inner fire
Not an all-consuming blaze
But the loving light in which we see more clearly
The Rainbow Covenant glowing
in the many-colored faces of all life.
Blessed be You, Interbreathing Spirit of the world, creative energy, who makes us holy by connecting us with each other and with You, and at this moment connects us by kindling our inner light.
Rabbi Waskow proposes ideas for communities taking action to put this prayer into history and I will speak to this in the video that accompanies today’s meditation.
For Deep Ecumenism, see Matthew Fox, “The Cosmic Christ and Deep Ecumenism,” in Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 228-244.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: In the name of love: AIDS LifeCycle memorial candlelight vigil 2022. Photo by Victor Solonoy on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
What moves you most about this prayer and poem “Between the Fires”? What other fires might you name that hold deep lessons for humankind (one might be the fire anniversary coming up on August 6 of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan)? Is it significant that “fire” is considered yang energy and that maybe it plays too dominant a role in our patriarchal worlds? That more yin energy is needed?
The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.