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Heal Their Land
By David Prather

We have contaminated our streams, damned our rivers, raped our forests, and polluted our skies.  No songbird could excel the excellency of the wood thrush’s song yet it is being stilled by acid rain.  No herbivore could consume the diversity of Pennsylvania’s forests like the logging practices at work today.

Last week I took inventory of the trees left after logging in nearly every plot along the highways between here and Pittsburgh. It was the exception that contained much more than maples struggling under maple decline. The untrained eye may have seen endless forests, but the eyes of a forester saw the end of our forests.  I am trying to get my eyes off the problem and onto the solution.  The solution is not letting forest barons ship our remaining hardwoods to Europe and the Orient.  It is not letting chip mills reduce our ravaged woodlands into defiled remnants of former glory until they resemble a tattered cornfield at the end of March.  It is putting our earth and environment first.  Some still ask, “How can we do this when we need jobs, when we need money?”  No right thinking person would ask their daughter to prostitute herself because they need money or become a dope dealer because they need a job. Daniel says, “The wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand."  I think many simply do not understand. They do not understand that when God closes a door, He opens a window.  They ask, “Are we supposed to put protecting the environment ahead of human needs for jobs and money.”

Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father knows all about what we need and he tells us to “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things will be added unto us.”  When we see that God’s word tells us that humans are created to guard and protect the Earth, how could we abandon our post so that our purpose is abandoned to fulfill our greed.

If those seeking to control the destiny of this beautiful area have their way, our land can shudder at the plans they have to make their fast buck at the expense of every wild thing.  Saint James says that their gold and silver will be a testimony against them. God sees that their day is coming.  "The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the rulers…The whole earth is at rest and quiet: the trees break forth into singing, Yes the fir trees rejoice at thee and the Cedars of Lebanon, saying, since thou art laid down no faller has come up against us…”

Not a day seems to go by without me hearing America’s current favorite scripture; “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  Most read this as, I will give more power to a certain political party.  Or I will outlaw abortion.  Or I will bring back pro-hibition.  But it says, “I will heal their land.”  Many are not even aware that the land is gravely injured, wounded, and suffering.  The scripture says the wilderness mourns, but they have not listened to it weeping.  They are waiting to go to heaven not having realized that the master has told us to pray that heaven’s kingdom would be established in the earth.

We do not understand the benefits of a healed land nor do we realize the cost of its cure.  We are willing to tax the next generation into poverty for war, but spend nothing to heal our land.  Who cares today that the old growth forests are the unique habitation of the Almighty? (Psalms 132.)  We serve God with lip service, but where are the leaders and followers who want or are ready to care for a healed land?

This is not the time to cut more of our forests, but time to secure seed from its remaining bio-diversity and begin seed stock to replenish them for future generations to enjoy. All wild creatures depend upon this bio-diversity…so does the human spirit.

Psalms 96 verses 11 and 12 make clear the direction God would have us go in relation to our environment.  “Let the atmosphere brighten so the earth may spin joyfully through space.  Let the roaring waters tumble and thunder violently and be filled with life.  Let the land jump for joy with all its creatures – then shall the trees spread like a green old-growth blanket and sing for joy.”

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