by Catherine Malotky—

Here I am, God, coming before you, trusting in your love for me, your acceptance, your welcome. I am your child, claimed by you in my creation, named by you in my baptism, shaped by you in my forming.

I come from a long line of faithful ones, some who I know only through biblical stories, and others I can name as blood relatives, who sought to follow your way and be redeemed by your promise of new life even when life was hard and grief was raw. I also stand in the memories of the bodies who built the world I inhabit, not just the titans of industry, but also those who loved this land before I did and from whom it was taken, those whose unpaid labor created wealth for others, and those many women who tended the children who became the parents, who had children who became parents, who had the children of today.

I am surrounded by the bounty of your creation.

I am blessed by: its phenomenal capacity to regenerate; its miracle of reproduction; and its intricate balance of predator/prey, weather/climate and rest/ growth. I stand in a long line of human expectations, especially our assumption that we may freely extract from the creation whatever we please to whatever degree we please, and that its blessings will be inexhaustible. I believe that we, in our industrious drive to achieve more, are neglecting to honor creation’s delicate balance. We do not “leave no trace.” Instead, we leave our damaged places behind, and move on, too often to damage again.

The earth will survive this. It is yours, after all. But will we? Will our children? Our grandchildren? When we have no more place to go to find clean air and water, when flood and drought are constant companions, when the ocean ice is gone and the permafrost melted, what will we tell them?

Here I am, God. I hear the voices of children not yet born, calling for us to protect the world for them and their lives to come, appealing to our wisdom, humility and love. They are asking us to change our assumptions so we might pass on to them a world of balance, mystery and wonder, where all human bodies and animal bodies and plant bodies are honored and tended with grace, where we tread lightly and have learned to live in harmony with the ebb and flow of life’s deepest forces.

You will not rescue us from the consequences of our destructive choices. You will call to us. You will encourage us. You create a vision of a new heaven and a new earth for us, and offer it to shape our imagination.

Give us the will to do what is required to change course. Bless us with courage to speak and do what is necessary to turn our eagerness for ever more into eagerness for your vision of love and justice and mercy and hope, for all of your creation.

Here I am, God. Receive my hesitance. Bolster my resolve. Here I am, God. Send me.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Rev. Catherine Malotky is an ELCA pastor, retired from full-time paid work for the sake of dear relationships and interests.

This article appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Gather magazine. To read more like it, subscribe to Gather.