….tail. We got a late start in planting it, and there hasn’t been much rain till recently. But there it is — a beautiful, wee crop of corn growing in the church garden. It’s presence reminds us of our call to tend the earth, our call to feed our neighbors, and the connection between the rites we celebrate inside and our service to nurture and protect the planet outside.
Corn first came into my consciousness when I lived in rural Kenya, where maize is a daily staple (boiled and seasoned with a very mild curry called Mchuzi Mix). As it turns out, corn is complicated. Genetic modification, ethanol, the high fructose corn syrup lobbyists — Corn and politics, life and death.
Elephants are also complicated. We may hope for corn as high as an elephant’s eye, but it’s really the elephants’ tusks we should be keeping our eyes on. The ivory trade is a debacle in so many ways. This month’s National Geographic tells the story in great detail, explaining how 30,000 African elephants are being slaughtered every year, in part to fund militias and terrorist groups like Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
As many Episcopal churches prepare to celebrate Creation Season, it’s important that we not simply sing “All Creatures of our God and King.” It’s important that we come to grips with the ways in which human greed and violence are irreparably threatening the future of entire species. Elephants and corn, politics and greed, life and death. Let us pray and act, learn and respond, advocate and steward, now and always.