Can theology (which I would define as thinking of faith) help us to live in harmony with each other and in harmony with nature?
The Apostle Paul set himself no small goal! In his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 12) he outlined an image of the church as a body of Christ. There are different members and parts of the body. They have different functions and each its own status, but all should strive for homeostasis (an harmony within organism) and work for the common good. Often this image is interpreted only as a call for harmony within the church.
I am convinced that Paul had a much greater goal. This image of society as a body was quite popular at that very time. Ancient Greek and Roman politicians and philosophers used this image to advocate for a status quo, to protect privileges of the powerful and keep the oppressed calm, docile, and satisfied with their lot. This image was used to keep and cement the existing social stratification and hierarchy. The Apostle Paul used the popular image, but turned it upside down. He transformed this metaphor into mystical egalitarian image. All members are equally parts of the body of Christ. Christ is not only head, Christ is the entire body. Paul’s church is a model society, it celebrates and cherishes differences, and at the same time is radically, spiritually, divinely! egalitarian. As a whole, together, we are the presence of Christ in the world today.
Unfortunately in the almost two thousand years since Paul wrote to Corinthians, humankind acquired even greater destructive powers and is dangerous in much wider sense. We gained the uncanny ability to harm and destroy our entire environment, the intricate and complex web of life on our planet. In the Hellenistic period Paul used and radicalized the image of society as a body by comparing it to body of Christ. In our current environmental predicament, I am convinced, that Paul would not hesitate a moment to use the modern holistic image of Gaia hypothesis (a scientific metaphor for a complex interdependence of the entire planet). Just imagine Paul writing in his First letter to New Yorkers that the entire Gaia is Christ!
It is a mysteriously inspiring and empowering image, but at the same time engaging and encouraging us in meaningful living. Just as Jesus breathed the air, think of entire atmosphere as filling Christ’s lungs. Just as Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and drank from Galilean springs and streams, the entire hydrosphere circulates in his veins. Just as he walked on roads and climbed mountains, the entire lithosphere represents his frame. Just as he rode a donkey, ate fish, and drank wine and spoke about mustard seeds and birds, all the biosphere now forms his sinews and muscles.
New Yorkers, you were given great privileges of access to wealth, power, decision making, freedom, influence... Do you want to stand by and look at how Christ continues to suffer, is poisoned, drilled, harmed, exploited, cut and torn into pieces? Can't you recognise his presence in a homeless person by the subway station? Can't you recognise his presence in the Hudson River driftwood, in a bunch of snowdrops shivering by your building, in a screeching song of a lonely gull, in a flurry of snowflakes over the Central Park?