The Earth is The Lord’s
July 20, 2016
“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it…” Psalm 24:1
The first chapters of Genesis tell the story of creation in such a way that we are reminded that God loved what God created and saw that it was very good. We know that everything was created to exist in harmony and that it would provide the nourishment for the creatures that were brought forth to live in this beautiful earth home.
Observers of nature know that over seasons, and generations, and eons, numerous systems have worked together to create the earth as we know it—the earth’s forces of life, reproduction, death and regeneration cycles; biological succession; water cycles in which rain waters the earth, allowing plants to grow to feed the world, water that runs to rivers and to oceans, water that evaporates to later become rain again; and geological history through which sediment in the sea solidifies and is later pushed up into mountains, followed by erosion and soil formation, able then to grow vegetation to protect the soil and bring forth the bio-diversity that creates numerous ecosystems and the beauty that we value in our part of the world.
My description is, of course, an overly simplified version of the environment that we live in and that we trust to supply our basic needs. We thank God for food and water, for shelter, for fuel to give us energy, for animal companions, and for family and friends — neighbors both nearby and around the world.
With my training/education in both science and theology, I find it important to integrate these two lenses of looking at the world. I find that in God’s creativity, the diversity of species each have significant places of value in this world. We humans are “of the earth” as are all creatures, and yet, God has granted human beings with reason, emotion, and the ability to communicate with one another. God has entrusted us to care for the earth and to make wise decisions that will care for all the inhabitants of the earth. So what shall we do when so many of these systems are out of whack—are not working the way God intends?
Rev. Sally Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power and Light has written, “As the last generation that has a chance to influence the impact of global warming, you and I have an incredible responsibility to work together in order to provide a safe planet for those who come after us.”
I believe it is our Christian responsibility to be good stewards of the earth that God has given us. To do that well, we need to educate ourselves as to appropriate and effective actions that will make a difference. It is not easy to make changes that require sacrifice to our comfortable ways of living, but such changes are what show compassion for our neighbors around the world and for generations to come.
I believe that God has been convicting me of being concerned, without taking the necessary actions to live out my beliefs. I am reminded that to “love God and love neighbor” requires acting in ways that will benefit them. That’s why I’ll try to take the bus more often, rather than driving, and why I’ve volunteered to circulate some petitions that would put things on the ballot which I believe are for the benefit of people’s health, safety, and the environment.
God calls us each to unique ways of showing God’s love. What is yours?
Prayer: Holy and loving God, help us to find ways to show your love by caring for the creation you have entrusted to us – for all your people. Amen.
Rev. Mary Beth Mankin
Pine Street Church, Boulder