The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers. Psalm 24:1
I’m glad we recognize Earth Day. The more conscious of Earth we are, the better all can flourish. The first creation story in Genesis says humanity was brought forth to care for creation. But in fits of ego, we’ve twisted care into domination. We are God’s gardeners, and we need to up our gardening game.
Pope Francis has insightfully critiqued the relationship between poverty and environmental degradation in the last year. Our own church adopted its social statement on caring for creation in 1993, four years into our formation as the ELCA. Read it at https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Caring-for-Creation.
Except for the few who think faith is about escaping from this globe, Christian traditions and religions worldwide have been calling on us all to re-visit our relationship with Earth. Why is it we feel the need to step on concrete when we step outdoors? When we are disconnected and alienated from the very ground we depend upon for life itself, we end up doing things that threaten all kinds of living things. The Earth we leave to our children and grandchildren really does require us to see it as part of our family today. This means we start living in more righteous ways with the environment.
I’m collaborating with a group of academics, civic leaders and policy makers to help establish a Tampa Bay Sea Level Rise Network. Over the last decade, the median high tide in Tampa Bay has risen nearly an inch per year. That rate is increasing. Our children and grandchildren are going to see a very different landscape and seashore. It’s happening already and there’s a lot we can do together to begin to live in a better relationship with the world around us.
You can read up on the latest findings here: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/changing-climate-10-years-after-inconvenient-truth.
In the meantime, let us celebrate the Earth we know and deepen our love for the world God has put us in. Join us for our Earth Day Service this Sunday at St. Paul. Wear your gardening clothes. Enjoy the picnic and help us plant flowers and bushes around the church. Through song and praise, prayer and action, may we be inspired to be better gardeners in God’s creation.
Grace and peace,
Pr. Russell L. Meyer