Earth is our Father and rivers are our Mother. It turns out that most religions agree to some such concepts. The language may differ but the meaning is transferable. It happens that this Friday Thai people will pay homage to the Mother of Waters in the year’s biggest celebration, Loy Kratong. People will flock to rivers and estuaries to float mini-offerings in appreciation for the life-support that Mother/Rivers (and streams) provide. It is the season to remember our relationship with nature.
We live, as one Islamic spokesman reminded us, dependent on earth, as we are composed of it, live upon it in utter dependence, and return to it before long. A Hindu spokeswoman filled in the blank that it is trees that are the connecting link between heaven above from whence water comes, and earth below whereupon we exist as on an island. A Buddhist scripture reminded us that trees are shelters for birds, and a source of food for us.
The occasion in which we reminded ourselves of this unity we have with nature was an “Interreligious Tree Planting” event conducted November 15 by the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Peace of Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. About 40 participants came to plant two trees: a fruit tree symbolic of the sustenance trees provide, and a shade tree that provides comfort and protection. Short scriptures and comments were made by representatives of Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and members of the university’s student body and faculty.
Pictures accompanying this blog are from that event.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.