The earth is God’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1
The Institute of Intercultural Studies and Research, a long-time Global Ministries partner in Chiapas, Mexico, works with people in villages and communities, learning together how the death of the forests means more than the loss of trees. Every breath that we have ever breathed has depended on the oxygen processed by billions of leaves around the world. The food we eat comes from the soil enriched by those same leaves, naturally composted over hundreds of years. The forest habitat is home to creatures and to many humans who depend daily on the medicines, food, and fuel produced by trees.
The Mayan people remind themselves of the wisdom of a simple life rooted in nature. The loss of the forests is more than just a material, physical, or economic loss. It is also a spiritual loss. Throughout time, people have retreated to the forest seeking in the solitude and music of nature the whisper of the God of creation and of their own souls. Trees, like the giant cieba, sacred to the Mayan people, are the ancients who hold the wisdom of the ages in their rings.
Humanity has opened a chasm that separates creation from its Creator. Unless each of us chooses to plant seeds, unless we change our priorities and habits, unless we learn to care for our home, the earth, the death of the forests could very well mean the death of humanity. We must heed the warnings before it is too late.
Elena Huegel serves with the Intercultural Research and Studies Institute (INESIN) in Mexico. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS and your special gifts