upper room daily devotions

Sunday, July 29, 2007

god's kingdom? - four gorillas shot to death

Today in worship we read Luke's version of the Lord's Prayer. Each time we pray the Lord's Prayer we ask for our daily bread and for God's kingdom to come. As I pack this week to leave for Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I wonder how much my daily bread really is and whether I mean it when I pray for it. My life is built upon much, much more than me taking only my daily bread. I also am forced to think about how serious I am when I pray for God's kingdom to come on earth. In theory this sounds really marvelous. In practicality it has great implications on my life and on the witness of the church. Over the course of the next month reminders will be all around me of how much I take for granted in my every day life, and how that "taken-for-grantedness" is part of a life lived in excess. Additionally, I will be shown again and again how God's kingdom does come...as well as how it doesn't.

For those who read this blog, you probably know by now that being a good steward of the earth and of non-human animals is a primary call in my life. When I think about how over-consumption in the United States in general and in my life in particular affects the air, the soil, the seas, and the animals, I find myself convicted of a life filled with great sin. I use immensely more than my daily share and I desire to have more than my daily portion. The lifestyle into which I was born and to which I have become addicted is crammed with too much food, too many gadgets, and too much ease. I do mean it when we pray in the Lord's Prayer, "forgive us our tresspasses," but I hope God forgives me more readily than I seem to be able to forgive others.

This month an article was written about the slaughter of four mountain gorillas in the DRC. They may have died as a by-product of the push to mine the wealth of resources in the DRC. They may have been victims of trophy hunting. I doubt they were potential food sources since they were left behind. Mountain gorillas are amazing creatures - proof of God if ever there needed to be one. When will we be able to look upon God's world and see as God does and value the beauty and magnificence of God's creations? When will we realize that our desires - when turned to action - have serious and lasting consequences? When will we and our churches become living witnesses to the the God of life and stand resolute against killings such as this? When will we finally say "no" to the bloodshed - human and non-human - that is happening all around the world, but especially the bloodshed in places like the DRC? When will we finally mean it when we pray for God's kingdom to come and then to see it all around us? When will we treat this world as God's home filled with God's wonders?

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
forever. Amen.

Here is the article:

"Four Gorillas Found Shot To Death In Congo

July 28, 2007 11:46 a.m. EST

Nicole King - AHN News Writer
Democratic Republic of Congo (AHN) - The shooting death of four rare mountain gorillas has prompted the United Nations to send a mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Park rangers found three females and a male silverback shot to death in the southern part of Virunga National Park earlier in the week.

Residents said they heard gunshots and alerted park rangers, who found the dead gorillas the next morning. Patrols are being increased and guard shacks are being built to provide 24-hour surveillance.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization announced it will send a mission to the country as soon as possible to offer support. The agency said it plans to work with authorities to find out the reasons behind the killings and to prevent any more in the future.

The four gorillas were part of a group that was frequently visited by tourists. Experts are concerned that the death of the male, who would traditionally act as the leader of the group, will now leave the group disoriented. Two other gorillas that belonged the group, a female and an infant, are missing.

Flora and Fauna International, a society that works for the conservation of threatened ecosystems and species, said just over 700 mountain gorillas survive in the wild. The group said seven gorillas have bee killed in the park this year so far."

A baby gorilla has been found alive, although her mother was among those shot to death. Read more...

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