Aroha atu, Aroha mai” means “love given is love received” – Reverend Jacynthia Murphy reflects on the Lambeth Call on the Environment and Sustainable Development

September 15, 2023 in News

Humanity is urgently called to reflect on past errs, reset present practices, to form future prosperity. In doing so, we discover that we are the problem and the solution to the environment crises. In a seedling season following months of flooding, a cyclone, and fires, we give thanks for Creator’s vast seedbeds. Humanity cannot be detached from seedbeds and must be accountable to all living things and not to ourselves alone. “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy”. Psalm 96:11-12.

Indigenous philosophy offers the holistic attitudes for Earth to survive the human onslaught on its resources. Commitment to environmentally sustainable development and harvest of natural resources enables the Earth to proffer its cycle of mutual reciprocity. “Aroha atu, Aroha mai” means “love given is love received”. Relationships based on the shared responsibility of care to our planet and beyond. The Māori word for land is whenua which also means placenta. Life stirs in the whenua where many generations of seeds take root, emerge, and flourish. The umbilical cord is reunited with its whenua at birth, usually accompanied with the planting of a native tree, until at the end of earthly journey we are returned to the whenua once more. This indigenous practice is captured in the Genesis narrative being “formed of dust from the whenua” (Genesis 2:7) and the Hebrew word “bara” which describes the creation of both human and all other life forms. It is within the paradigm of our earthly existence that we are to realise that we are the problem, and we are the solution too!

Environmental justice must find its voice within our seedbed and push forth to bring about the changes needed for all fruits to flourish. As Christians, we are duty bound to act more responsibly and curb our propensity to dominate all of the created world. In a chapter of the recent book “Awhi mai, awhi atu: Women in Creation Care” I wrote a poem titled ‘He Kākano Ahau – I am a seed.

‘He Kākano Ahau – I am a seed.
By The Revd Jacynthia Murphy

“I am a seed.
Pushed forth from creation,
quenched by lifegiving water,
and lovingly nurtured
by my ancestors before me
to live sustainably
so that at life’s end,
when I am returned to where seeds emerge,
I may give my eternal gratitude for a life well lived.
It is my responsibility, as kaitiaki (guardian),
planted in scripture and schooled in tikanga (protocol)
to lovingly care for all the elements
that enhance our journey from beginning to end.
To belong to the generational seeds of life,
in harmony with all other life,
is to each flourish and prosper.
This is our blessing from the Creator. Amen”.

Supporting Information

The Revd Jacynthia Murphy is an indigenous Māori of Aotearoa, New Zealand. She currently sits on the Anglican Indigenous Network and has delivered talks on Biodiversity, Climate Impacts, Climate and the Commission on the Status of Women. Jacynthia participated in parallel sessions of COP15 and COP26. She also serves on the Anglican Missions Board of Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia and works closely with programs of climate resilience and preparedness throughout the pacific.

Read the Lambeth Call on Environment and Sustainable Development in full here.

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