I read a wonderful quote from the twelfth century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen that gave me pause. She described the Holy Spirit as “the Greening Power of God.” Of course she did not intend that in the context that we might mean by “Greening” something; that is making it more environmentally friendly. She meant, I believe, that as plants are greened by water, sunlight, and soil; the human soul is “greened” by the Holy Spirit’s presence in one’s life. Because of the Holy Spirit the human soul can “flower and bear good fruit.”
Yet, I would assert, that “greening” our lifestyles, is not only a justice issue, but also a spiritual issue. Can humankind “flower and bear good fruit” when approximately one third of the world’s population live in ways that are unsustainable and destructive to the planet, while another third of the population bear a disproportional burden of the consequences of global climate change and environmental destruction? Can we love God if we treat our brothers and sisters in such a way?
Perhaps Hildegard’s words, as the words of mystics often do, have new meaning for our times. That the Holy Spirit, who empowers, enlightens and sanctifies (Martin Luther); greens us to live in more just, simple and earth friendly ways: so that all of humankind can “flower and bear good fruit.”
May the Greening Power of God empower you to flower and bear good fruit in 2012.