I walked the South Bay Trail from downtown Bellingham to Fairhaven today, and remembered the day three or four years ago or so I found a Bible just off the trail.
The Bible was in plain sight, and open to the elements and already damp in a light rain. I have no idea why someone felt compelled to leave a holy book – any holy book – a couple of feet off the trail and open to the elements.
I picked it up and returned to my car with the Bible and placed it in my trunk. When I returned home I fanned the pages open, hoping that it would begin to dry.
Now I have no idea what page it was open to and realize at the same time that that may have been an important clue to why the book was left open.
I respect ALL holy books; if the book open to the elements had been the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Torah, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, etc., I would have rescued it! Indeed, I would have rescued any book!
I’ve moved a couple of times since then, but still have the Bible. It is an Extreme Faith God’s Word Knows No Bounds Contemporary English Version, American Bible Society (1995).
While I was walking the trail and remembering the day I “rescued” a copy of this version of the Bible, I also recalled the phrase “in God’s country.” Over the years I have heard people say that they “live in God’s Country” – perhaps because the place they live in is special and beautiful.
Tied to this is a usual ending provided by speech makers in the United States: “… and may God bless the United States of America.” Personally I want God to bless the U.S. and all countries along with all people and all creatures!
I have been blessed in growing up in Hawai’i. I have also been blessed in living for a time in several other places including Japan, Florida, Connecticut, California, and now Washington State. I’ve driven through large parts of the United States and I’ve been lucky to visit countries including Australia, China (Hong Kong), Singapore, Thailand, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, and New Caledonia. Wherever I’ve gone I have found beautiful and special places (and special people).
I want to assure you, kind reader, that it is ALL God’s country. Our planet – our Earth – is God’s country. In my opinion, whatever holy book holds sway in a particular place, the place remains God’s country and holy.
Now, it is past time when we must be true caretakers of this beautiful planet and act. We must care for Earth like this is our only home and stop fouling land, air, and water. We must care for all creatures as our brethren, and take care of and heal this beautiful planet on behalf of all creatures.
Humbly, with blessings to all, Andy