Missy and I head out each spring to our local nursery to purchase flowers and greenery for our backyard.
We always have the best intentions of creating our very own oasis. We want to create a backyard environment where birds, children and neighbors find beauty, solace and peace when they come over to sit on our back porch.
We do not claim to be horticulturalists, but we find flowers and plants conducive to direct sunlight and what we think is pretty. By the time we decide based on our limited knowledge, we are never confident what we picked out will create the oasis we so desire.
However, after all the planting is completed, we sit back to gaze at what we affectionately call “the greatest creative collaboration between God and humans.” We marvel at the assortment of flowers, plants and colors. God created the beauty of all living things, while we just sorted them in an order we loved.
This Friday, April 22, the global community will celebrate Earth Day. Earth Day was established in 1970 to celebrate the environmental movement and raise awareness about pollution and offer ways to maintain a clean habitat.
According to EarthDay.org, the theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest In Our Planet.” Organizers encourage supporters to “act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably)” to sustain our planet.
Recently, The New York Times reported on an update provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations.
The report “warns that unless countries drastically accelerate efforts over the next few years to slash their emissions from coal, oil and natural gas, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, will likely be out of reach by the end of this decade.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “This is a climate emergency.”
Further commenting on wealthy economies and corporations not taking climate change seriously, he said, “They are not just turning a blind eye; they are adding fuel to the flames. They are choking our planet, based on their vested interests and historic investments in fossil fuels, when cheaper, renewable solutions provide green jobs, energy security and greater price stability.”
When it comes to climate change and creation care, people of faith have often failed in our responsibility as caretakers of the divine creation we call earth.
As part of the created order, we must take the lead in caring for the planet. It is not only a matter of environmental importance; it’s an extension of ministering to the vulnerable.
Sandra Richter, Robert H. Gundry Chair of Biblical Studies at Westmont College, made this comment at a recent BioLogos Faith and Science 2022 event: “The church is paralyzed when it comes to creation care.”
Richter went on to lay out a theological argument for why Christians should care about global warming: “Creation care is care for the widow and orphan.”
Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy and also Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor and the Political Science Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Public Law in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University, also spoke at the same event.
“Climate change is loading the dice against us,” she said. “We need to recognize a different way to live. We need to be grateful for fossil fuels, but there can be a new way to live. Just like the horse and buggy are no longer the main means of transportation, we can utilize renewable energies for a new era.”
For people of good faith who are concerned about climate change and want to take seriously our responsibility as Earth’s caretakers, the time is now to make your voice and presence known.
We need to demonstrate solidarity to combat global warming and encourage personal and communal responsibility. We are taking these actions, not despite our faith, but because of it.
The Bible is filled with examples of how God gave humans the responsibility to be caretakers of creation and to instill practices that harvest resources sustainably:
- “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Ps. 24:1).
- “For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine” (Ps. 50:10-11).
- “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth … all things have been created through him and for him” (Col. 1:15-16).
Furthermore, we must see our acts of caring for creation as acts of love towards God and our neighbor.
When we take care of the planet, we demonstrate our love for God and neighbors. We show our love for God by respecting the divine creation and our love for others by using resources in a sustainable manner. Being a creation-care advocate extends our faith and love for God.
As we prepare for Earth Day 2022, I offer this simple prayer:
“Divine Creator of all living creatures, we come before you to thank you for the planet on which we live. We take the responsibility as the earth’s caretakers seriously, so forgive us when we have fallen short of that care. Instill within us urgency and passion to right past wrongs and to find a more sustainable and fruitful future. We commit ourselves to live more humbly so that others can simply live. May the faithful be of one heart to honor you and demonstrate our love for you and our neighbors.”
CEO of Good Faith Media.