When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And they divided his garments among them by casting lots. This was to fulfill the scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.”

Depletion of Natural Resources and Mishandling of Waste

Where do we witness the devastating depletion of our resources? Strip mining; deforestation; soil depletion through use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and defoliants; overfishing and overgrazing.

Around us are piled literal mountains of garbage in urban areas: they are testimony to the growing crisis in waste management. So are our rural expenses for trucking garbage to “transfer stations,” as our dumps become environmental liabilities.

The economic juggernaut roars on: wasteful commercial packaging of products in order to make them attractive to consumers; planned obsolescence of machinery in order to induce us to buy more and more and more.

Leaking 50-year-old nuclear waste storage tanks in northern Washington State and rusting tanks at the Love Canal are only two particularly frightening manifestations of the problem. Even here in Tennessee, coal sludge spills have emptied out into lakes, damaging ecosystems and forcing human residents away from their homes once in the midst of natural beauty.

We continue to overconsume fossil fuels and handle them carelessly despite knowing that they are limited in quantity. Our lack of stewardship is dramatized in oil spills like the burning Bosporus Strait and the continuing disaster on the coast of Alaska.

We willfully ignore the Four Laws of Nature:

  1. There is no waste in nature.
  2. Everything is connected.
  3. There is no such place as “away” (as in, “just throw it away!”).
  4. The Earth has limits.

(Waste Away Program, Vermont Institute of Natural Resources)

Let us Pray:

O God, whose blessed Child our Savior, body whipped and face spit upon, still gave up his clothes and finally his life for us: Give us grace to realize how we appropriate your gifts without prudence and discard them without a second thought, piling up want and sufferings for the future time. Grant us instead to accept less in the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy

The sixth station: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

(All station artwork was produced by members of the Vanderbilt Divinity community from found and reclaimed objects.  Liturgy adapted from St. Brendan the Navigator Episcopal Church, Stonington, Maine, 1993. The original version of this liturgy can be found at earthministry.org)