In 2019, the year before the pandemic, long lines of climbers jammed the base of Mount Everest, leaving tons of garbage across the Himalayas. But, this year, with no visitors due to COVID-19, local Sherpas have been working to restore the environment. As part of the clean-up effort, 12 Nepalese climbers scaled two mountains and crossed four alpine glaciated passes to remove 24,000 pounds of garbage – food wrappers, cans, bottles and empty oxygen cylinders. “It felt like a pilgrimage,” said one Sherpa. “It was nature in its purest state.”
On the night before He died, Jesus promised His disciples and by extension, you and me, that He was going to prepare a place for us. That place with God begins in this place, this wondrous earth that God has given us.
Our time on this earth, as the Sherpa reflected, is a pilgrimage during which we encounter God and signs of God’s presence, in the beauty of nature and the goodness of one another.
In the words of Pope Francis, “We need to ensure that the environment is cleaner, purer, and that it is conserved. We must care for nature so that nature may care for us.”
And so as we journey on this earth with the promise of a place in our Father’s house, let us ask the Lord to help us make this earth a place of beauty, a place that is life giving, a place of welcome and affirmation where God’s grace, healing, and compassion may be experienced.