Happy Earth Day

“The earth is the Lord’s

            and everything in it,

            the world and its inhabitants too.

Because God is the one

            who established it on the seas;

            God set it firmly on the waters.”

 

-Psalm 24: 1-2 (CEB)

 

Happy Earth Day!

 

The first Earth Day was the brainchild of US Senator Gaylord Nelson. Earth Day was intended to motivate Americans, especially young Americans, to get educated about the impact humans have on the environment, and make changes for the better. Fifty years later, that remains the driving message behind Earth Day.

 

Earth Day ought to be a Christian celebration as well.

 

After all, the very first thing we understand about the God we profess to believe in is that God is the Creator of heaven and earth. Psalm 24 declares that the earth and all it contains are the Lord’s; we reside on God’s creation as God’s creation. The dominion of the earth that God gives to humanity in Genesis 1:28 is a dominion of stewardship, not tyranny.

 

Christians bear responsibility for the Earth, and ought to be leading the fight for healthy and sustainable environmental stewardship.

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Most Earth Days in the past have featured people taking to the streets to protest, rally and raise awareness for environmental issues. We are encouraged to reach out to our government leaders and advocate for large scale policy issues. We are told to advocate for change now, because time is running out. The doomsday clock is ticking.

 

But this Earth Day is different. This year, a large swath of humanity is sheltering-in-place in an effort to turn back the tide of the covid-19 pandemic.

 

Honestly, we’re all pretty stressed.

 

We can’t rally in the streets right now. Emailing government officials and signing petitions might feel like just one more thing on your ever-increasing to-do list, and you’re not sure you can handle it. Advocating does not dismiss the fear, worry, and anxiety you might be feeling in light of the uncertainty of living in a time of global pandemic.

 

So, I want to suggest how you should celebrate Earth Day this year, a way proven to relieve stress and improve mental health:

 

Enjoy Creation (outside, if possible).

 

After each part of creation, God declared the created thing good. When all of creation was together, “God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.” (Genesis 1:31, CEB)

 

God likes creation. God enjoys creation. We should, too.

 

Maybe you can’t go for a long hike in a national park, but hopefully you can take a stroll in your neighborhood. Maybe you can get your hands dirty, planting in your backyard. Maybe you can sit and let the sunshine warm you and breathe deeply with your eyes closed. Maybe you can watch the squirrels and birds through your window.

 

The Earth is the Lord’s, and it is good.

 

In celebration of this Earth Day, celebrate the goodness of God through the goodness of being a creature in God’s creation.

 

Enjoy your Creator’s creation, drink deeply of its goodness, and give thanks.

 

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