by Christine Sine –
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to prepare some readings for the Earth Day service at our church next Sunday. It encouraged me to pull out some of my favourite books on creation care, re-watched my favourite videos (like the ones included in this post) and reread some of my favourite quotes including this one:
When the Pharisees told Jesus to silence his disciples, Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out” (Luke 19:40) Does creation speak? Can it be heard? Can it be read?
The Christian community has long held that the Scriptures of the old and New Testament are “inspired” by God and the basis for faithful reflection in the church. At the same time, Christian writers have maintained that creation can be read as a text about God and that God has presented us with “two books” – Scripture and the natural world.
From the desert wisdom tradition of the fourth century we read: “A philosopher asked Saint Anthony: Father, how can you be enthusiastic when the comfort of books has been taken from you? He replied: My book, O Philosopher, is the nature of created things, and whenever I want to read the Word of God, it is usually right in front of me.” Augustine wrote, “Others, in order to find God, will read a book. Well, as a matter of fact there is a certain great big book, the book of created nature. Look carefully at it top and bottom, observe it, read it. God did not make letters of ink for you to recognize him in; he set before your eyes all these things he has made. Why look for a louder voice? Heaven and earth cries out to you, “God made me,”…. Observe heaven and earth in a religious spirit.”
Thomas a Kempis likewise suggested, “If you heart is right, then every creature is a mirror of life to you, and a book of holy learning, for these is no creature – no matter how tiny or how lowly – that does not reveal God’s goodness.
And Meister Eckhart wrote: Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. (Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology, Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler and A. J Swoboda).
What is Your Response?
Watch the video above and read through the quote several times. Sit outside in your favourite garden spot, a local park, or on the beach. Go for a forest walk or visit a local waterfall. Take note of the different textures of leaves and flowers, the colours of petals and dappling of light and shade. Run your hands through the vegetation, crush a leaf and inhale its fragrance. In what ways does God’s second book – creation – speak to you? How does it reveal the goodness of God to you?
What is one practice you could institute in your life to enhance that learning process?
As Earth Day approaches, take time to get out into God’s good creation and contemplate the revelation of God it brings. At the same time, reflect on the impact of climate change and pollution. Here are just a few of the facts:
1. If everyone in the world lived the way people do in the U.S., it would take five Earths to provide enough resources for everyone.
2. 2015 was the world’s hottest year on record.
3. Average global sea level is expected to rise 7 – 23 inches before the end of this century.
4. More than a million species face potential extinction as a result of disappearing habitats, changing ecosystems, and acidifying oceans according to this article from MSNBC.
5. The Arctic region may have its first completely ice-free summer by 2040.
What is Your Response?
These facts overwhelm us, yet there are simple things we can all do, from a car-free day a week to a reduction in meat consumption to decrease our environmental footprint, cut carbon emissions and help reduce the human impact of climate change. Here is a list of 10 simple things all of us can try to be part of the solution.
Prayerfully consider the list. What is one practice you could institute in your life to help reduce environmental impact?
And if you are looking for more resources to help you celebrate Earth Day you might like to check out these posts: