When I worked at Laurel Ridge, one January day it snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed. I had never seen anything like it. After the storm passed, the sky was a brilliant Carolina blue and the sun was shining, so my husband and I decided to go for a walk.
I will never forget that experience; we felt like we were the only human beings left on Earth. When we finally got to the top of the mountain, we collapsed into the snow and looked up. It was truly magical…. staring at the trees blanketed in white and not hearing a single sound.
I’ve always felt close to God in nature, having been raised to have a strong connection with the outdoors. But that day, as we were in the midst of a literal winter wonderland, it really hit me. God loves creation and creation absolutely adores God. Psalm 96, verse 12 says, “Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.” I know this to be true; I heard the song.
Another favorite and very familiar Psalm says, “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” (Psalm 24, verse 1)
What would it look like if we actually lived differently in recognition of God’s ownership of everything? Moreover, what does it mean for us, as followers of Christ, to see Jesus as part of creation? In Colossians Chapter 1, Paul shares,
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible….all things have been created through him and for him.” (verses 15-16)
If Jesus is part of creation, and we hurt creation, then we hurt Jesus. In his book, “Baptized Into Wilderness,” Richard Cartwright Austin wrote:
“Christ stands with the victim. I believe that ‘hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison’ now extends to what is eroded or polluted or endangered or valued only for human use. The world which we are abusing has become the body of our Lord. When we tear the earth needlessly, Christ suffers.”
I had never thought of caring for creation in this way; it’s one thing to try to live as though everything is entrusted (not given) to us by God, but another to think that when we harm creation, Christ suffers. It’s one thing to say a prayer of thanksgiving on a snow-covered mountaintop, and another to do the work to be a faithful and generous steward of God’s world, a world in which God is still creating, redeeming, and blessing, a world in which not all of God’s children experience God’s abundance equitably.
So, as we approach another Earth Day, I invite you to go outside and find God. In the clouds, in the color of flowers, on the breeze. I hope you will hear creation singing its praises for and love of God. And I hope that song will inspire you to live differently as a blessed child of God, as a follower of Christ who is at the center of creation, and as a joyful steward of all God has entrusted to you.
Your Moravian Ministries Foundation is pleased to offer several creation stewardship resources on our website; they include scripture, activities, and more. Click here to learn more and If you would like to talk about how to focus on caring for creation as part of your community of faith’s stewardship ministry, please contact Laura at 336-725-2589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.