It is not uncommon, at least in North America, to think in terms of Mother Earth. Influenced by Native American spirituality, we Anglicans are comfortable with the idea of God our Father and Earth our Mother. Rejecting that image as coming too close to polytheism, Rabbi Abraham Heschel asserted that we can only refer to the earth as our sister since we are both creations of the one God. I understand his desire to protect the oneness of God, but think that he was unnecessarily fearful of the metaphor. For one thing, the very word for humanity, Adam, means something like “child of the (red) dirt. For another, sister is far to weak to serve as a useful metaphor. I may deeply love my sister and feel a very close kinship with her in every way, but my individual well-being is not dependent on her well being, nor does she have anything to do with my coming into this world. In fact, mother is an apt metaphor for earth. For human life to enter into this world it must be nurtured and sustained by the fecundity and resources of its mother through gestation, birth, weaning, even to young adulthood. A mother who is too ill or ill equipped to provide for the wellbeing of her offspring sets a condition under which the life of generations yet to come may be in jeopardy. How like the earth. Earth is literally the ground from which comes all that we need for physical nourishment, and much of what we need for emotional nourishment. The resources of the earth sustain our lives in every conceivable way. An unhealthy earth with waning resources jeopardizes our lives and the lives of generations yet to be born. I cannot think of a more apt metaphor for earth than mother, and it seems to me that God has poured an abundance of His divinity into Her without diminishing the oneness of God in the slightest. For us, earth is the greatest of God’s creations and worthy of deepest reverence. How sad it is that, through incremental matricide, we fail to honor both God and Mother Earth.