A Handful of Earth

by Richard Priggie

From remarks given at a student rally at Augustana College for the global climate strike on September 20, 2019.

The story is told that we are made of the earth that we inhabit,
that you and I were made from a handful of earth.
The story is that God got down on God’s own knees,
and scooped up a handful of dirt,
and then God did what God does best,
God created a work of art.
God molded that handful of earth into a human being,
and then the story says that God did a little CPR on that earth creature
and breathed into that new creature’s nostrils the breath of life,
and at that moment, it says…at that moment…
that sculptured work of earth-art became a living being.
And what is really cool is that the words of the story in Hebrew,
the language in which it’s written,
the words of the story itself suggest our original kinship
with the earth.

Get this! In Hebrew it reads that God formed adam from adamah,
which is translated that God formed the first human being, that’s adam,
from the ground, from the earth (that’s adamah).
So that just as the word adam, which means human being,
is taken from the word for earth, the word adamah, we are
intimately related to the earth.

The earth is our kin.
And so as we come together today to protest
the violence being perpetrated on the earth,
we admit to a personal interest in our protest.

It’s our kin being violated and defamed.
It’s our kin being polluted and burned.
It’s our kin that is melting.

Let’s tap into God’s loving intention
from the beginning of creation
that earth and its climate
and we ourselves are one.

We are one with the earth.
It says so
in the story of our beginnings.
Let it be so this day.