Thursday, March 7, 2013

Appalachian Voices – A Lament for the Mountains

A Devotional for the Fourth Week of Lent
By Sharman Chapman-Crane

This piece may be used as a litany.

Leader:   Appalachia Cries. Where is our resurrection? 
Voice 1:   Over 500 mountains lost to surface mining.
Voice 2:   Over 2,000 miles of streams buried.
Leader:   Ask the animals, and they will teach you,
Voice 3:   The birds of the air, and they will tell you,
Voice 4:   Speak to the earth and it will instruct you, 
Voice 5:   Even the fish will inform you
Leader:   We have coveted our neighbors’ land,
Voice 1:   Our neighbors’ resources.
Voice 2:   How do we make atonement?
Leader:   Our faith story begins with creation
Voice 2:   …and God saw that it was good.
Voice 3:   Creation was Yahweh’s first gift to us. 
Leader:   Appalachia cries
Voice 1:   For the people –
Mothers:   Living close to mine sites means our babies are 42% more likely to have birth defects.
Fathers:   Surface mining has increased unemployment within the industry by 60%.
Youth:   This region holds the record for depression and our drug abuse statistics are the highest per capita in the nation.
Leader:   Appalachia cries 
Voice 1:   For peace –
Voice 2:   It’s not just the 4 million pounds of explosives set off daily in our mountains, it’s knowing that: 
Parents:   In 2004 in Wise County, Virginia a 3-year-old child was crushed while sleeping in his bed one night.
Everyone:   In 2005 in Hazard, Kentucky some shoppers in WalMart were injured by boulders crashing through the roof.
Couples:   In 2009 in Knott County, Kentucky a couple’s home was destroyed by a boulder the size of a pick-up truck.
Leader:   These are not judgments on these people or on the land. 
Voice 1:   They are evidence of our complicity in sacrificing this gift of creation and our neighbors.
Voice 2:   How do we love our neighbors?
Voice 1:   Where does Appalachia find healing?
Voice 2:   When will we learn what is holy and sacred?
Leader:   Appalachia cries. 

Sharman Chapman-Crane has lived at the feet of Pine and Black Mountains for over 25 years helping her neighbors fight the abuses of coal mining. She developed asthma 8 years ago when surface mining started in her holler above her home. The blasting has cracked the foundation of her home and released methane into her well water.

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