Therefore a lion from the forest shall kill them, a wolf from the desert shall destroy them. A leopard is watching against their cities; everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces— because their transgressions are many, their apostasies are great (Jeremiah 5:6).
I sometimes feel that the biggest sins we have are those that are communal. Those where there is no one person you can point to and hold them responsible for the mess. Instead we are all culpable for the acts of transgression. We are as a people responsible for the wrong being committed. We are a people who hold up the false God of easy grace, the false God of limitless wealth and possessions, the false God of isolation. We as a people are especially libel for environmental sins. We let it happen slowly and steadily by not holding those in power accountable to the seventh generation from now.
The lions are at the gates because we have left them no place else to go. As I was reading this passage I was struck by our own overrunning of the habitat of so many animals. Just look at the images starting to come from the gulf coast. Dolphins have started washing up on shore killed by the massive, continuing growing oil spill. Where can they go and to escape this massive disaster. Our transgressions are going to lead to the massive destruction of the gulf.
To more closely follow the text; let us consider the wolf controversy in the west. Wyoming was fighting the federal government to be able to reduce the wolf population. We had preserved these amazing creatures and they were starting to repopulate the territory they once inhabited, but there repopulation was interfering with the ranching of sheep. The ranchers didn’t like the wolves culling the herds. These sheep are in their land. We have displaced them from their habitat to give grazing to ranchers. They proceed to attack prey to feed, prey that is on their land. They are acting as God created them to act. Our transgressions into their space have created the danger.
God, forgive us are transgressions of placing our own false God over you. We have turned our backs on the delicate balance you created among predator and prey. Help us to turn around. Amen.