Last Sunday was a glorious day; we celebrated the risen Lord in style here at Roberts Park. A brass quintet and timpani were added to the magnificent organ in the accompaniment of the chancel choir and the 250+ people who shared our worship in person, online, and on-demand. We heard the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection again and felt the presence of the living God in our lives. Every day, we experience in our surroundings the miracle of creation. We thank God for the bounty we have received and continue to receive.
I am sure many millions of people celebrated Easter. However, I think it will be a tiny percentage of those who will celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd. Earth Day, emphasizing environmental protection, allows us to recognize the gift we have in the wonder and beauty of all that God has created for us. With that gift also comes responsibility for its care. In the Genesis story, we recall that after creating us and making us a little lower than the angels. God gave us dominion over all creation and charged us with taking care of all we have.
The Great Commission in Matthew tells us to spread the Good News of Jesus’ birth and resurrection and make disciples of everyone. This is a huge responsibility. I believe we also have a vast and urgent task of protecting our planet—God’s Creation—from the effects of years of neglect and harsh treatment.
Too many of our leaders put profit before protection. They conveniently deny the problems and do nothing to alleviate them. Too many people put comfort and convenience before addressing the threats to the environment. Many are created by the widespread use of plastics in various forms, making our lives a little more convenient but causing many environmental problems. Our landfills are overflowing, and fish are dying from water polluted with plastic bags. I’m not sure how much we can do, but we need to do something.
We can take individual responsibility in small ways and encourage others to do the same.
• We can buy reusable grocery bags and urge lawmakers to outlaw the plastic ones.
• We can drink out of a glass or buy a reusable straw. Some places have already outlawed plastic straws, and we can work to make that happen in others.
• We can buy reusable storage bags instead of using one or two and then disposing of them.
• We can drink water from reusable bottles, not throw-away plastic.
• We can recycle everything possible.
These are small things, but each additional person who does them increases the positive effect on God’s Creation. None of the environmental difficulties we are facing at this time are likely to have much impact on people in our age group, but they will perhaps affect our children and will definitely affect our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When you next go out, look around you, and you will be impressed. God gave us our wonderful planet and all of creation; God made us stewards of these outstanding gifts.
(With thanks to Marlene McNiece for some of the ideas and material.)