Mind the Gap
‘Mind the Gap’ is a phrase we have come to associate with public transport. ‘Mind the gap’ is spoken or written on the door of a train as a reminder– To Be aware of imminent danger due to the generous step between the platform and the door. The phrase ‘Mind the gap’ can be used to heighten our awareness in other situations too. E.G the growing gap between the RICH and the very poor or again between ourselves and the natural world. We are growing apart, – the rift between all of God’s creatures is getting wider.
Psalms 103 – beautifully sung for us this pm…- reminds us that the people of the OT were very aware of and appreciated the natural world – they sang of the wonders of God’s creation and saw the need to renew the face of the earth. In the reading from Exodus, we hear that Moses, too, was acutely aware of his surroundings – he noticed – a bush on fire but it was not being burned-up, and while gazing on this strange sight he had an experience of God telling him that his people were suffering. Both the symbol and the theme for the Season of Creation come from this text in Exodus. The theme ‘Listen to the voice of creation’ and the symbol of the burning bush – were chosen to remind us that God still hears the cries of those who suffer and as a reminder of the growing gap between us and the rest of creation- particularly people living in poverty.
Today ‘burning bushes’ vary – many caused by climate change – and are beamed into our living rooms – this w/e it was the devastation caused by Hurricane ‘Ian’ while Floods in Pakistan were highlighted last week, These serve as reminders of the gaps between us and for the most part poorer parts of the world, however, many of us choose not to be aware of this gap, we continue by how we live to contribute to global warming and hence destroy God’s creation. Perhaps the problem is -that in the name of progress the discussion on Global warming has been framed with political, scientific and economic language- leaving us as individuals thinking that we cannot solve the problem- and leave it to authorities / Government.
Pope Francis SEVEN years ago provided us with an alternative script. Laudato Si’ the ground- breaking encyclical provided a systematic overview of the environmental crises using the language of faith. In it and particularly during this Season of Creation we are urged to awaken to the need to heal our relationships with creation. The widening gap between the rich and poorer countries is a key theme in the letter, Francis considers that the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor to be the same and repeatedly calls for an appreciation of the “immense dignity of the poor”
What might Pope Francis say to us if he among us this evening …..… I think he would encourage us to look at the ‘The Letter’ a film on Laudato Si’ featuring Pope Francis to be launched this evening at 7.30pm then re-read the encyclical
And in future when you hear the phrase ‘Mind the Gap’ let it be a reminder to take one practical action, however small, to fill the gap between us, people living in poverty and nature. For as Pope Francis says:
‘we know that things can change’
Anne Byrne DC