My daughter and her family lived in Nyon, Switzerland for four years. This town, with its current population of almost 20,000, is described as “spick-and-span“. That was certainly how it appeared during the seven trips I made there. Not a flower was out of place; not a yard was neglected; not a speck of litter was to be seen anywhere.
The same can’t be said for Burlington, Vermont. Like Nyon, our small city is situated on a beautiful lake, with mountains – not quite as majestic as Mont Blanc, but strikingly beautiful all the same – serving as a scenic backdrop for our waterfront. Almost every day of the week I walk through several neighborhoods, from residential to student to the downtown area. It is almost overwhelming to see the garbage in the road, on the side of the road, in our yards and trapped in our bushes. Cigarette butts are everywhere. From outward appearances, we don’t much care how we look, and it saddens me. I pulled out my camera and snapped a few pictures along my route (see above).
The Psalmist writes: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Jesus rails against religious professionals who obsess on outward appearances but neglect matters of inner purity. We are not particularly concerned with either. Unfortunately, it’s not just a matter of appearances. It is literally a matter of life and death – for many of the species on our planet, and for us. Look at the clip from the movie “Midway” and see where the plastic we throw away every day ends up.
Burlington, Vermont is a microcosm, a small city in a small state. Create in me a clean heart, O God … and give me the resolve to care about the world that is all around me, too.
A blessed Tuesday.