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Job 12:7-10 (New Revised Standard Version)
7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
8 ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
9 Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.
In our baptismal liturgy, God entrusts us with responsibilities, and we promise God, with the help of the Holy Spirit to live into these promises. One of these, “to care for others and the world God made,” is the impetus for the ELCA focus on the care of creation. Not only do we promise God to care for our neighbors, but to care for our world. Recently on Face Book I shared a post with an image that helps us realize the incredible way God has interwoven creation. Remember in Genesis, the earth, the water, the sky, the green and growing things all came into existence before animal life; God then created swimming, winged, creeping and crawling beasts. Finally, humans were created, in the image of God. The image shows us how very much we are part of nature and how much nature is part of us. All created in the image of our God, all interdependent. As science teaches us, we humans are a community of cells, microbes, bacteria, viruses, all living in a delicate balance. When something interrupts that balance, we become out of sync, perhaps even ill. Modern and ancient medicine provides guidance and help to keep us as healthy and in balance as possible. We need to care for our creation to help keep the earth healthy and in balance as well.
As baptized disciples of Christ, our covenant to care for neighbor and creation is our call to action for the care of this world. We are part of the earth’s ecosystem, and we need to care about the non-human neighbor—plant, animal, earth, as well as our human neighbors. What might that look like? Recycling, reducing, reusing. Refillable water bottles, reusable and washable grocery bags, reducing chemicals on our yards which may interfere with pollinators, such as honey bees, giving away clothing, shoes no longer needed but in good condition, finding new homes for old sheets and towels, offering these things to agencies which reuse items. Recycling items which your community accepts either in curbside bins or at a recycling center are a vital part of caring for creation. Praying for our world, the land and animal and plant life affected by fire, flood, hurricane, drought is also part of our being neighborly and living into the covenant; expressing gratitude to God for science, researchers, scientists; as well as those who care for the earth, park rangers, farmers, foresters, and those who work to protect for future generations the wild and natural places so that all may know God’s gracious creation.
You and I are God’s beloved ones, created to do good works, created to offer love to God and neighbor, whether human or not. Live into your baptism, by the power of the Holy Spirit, offer a prayer, make a change, take an action that will show God’s love to this world.
In Christ’s Love,