SOCIAL MINISTRY MUSINGS
submitted: Nancy Rowles
“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it…” Psalm 24:1
During one of our Lenten evening fellowship meals in February, we learned that the ELCA has formulated, adopted, and as a church is guided by, a number of social statements dealing with different topics, such as justice for women; hunger and poverty; race, ethnicity and culture, etc. Another of those social statements concerns the environment. With the advent of spring, green growth, and the renewal of the land, it may be a good time to ponder God’s creation and our role as God’s people in it. The following thoughts are taken from the ELCA website:
“Humans, in service to God, have special roles on behalf of the whole of creation. Made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth.” (ELCA, “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice,” 1993).
Caring for God’s creation is an ever-evolving topic in this world, especially with each new natural or human-made disaster. As stewards of this world, we are called to examine our behaviors toward creation. While we need to take from the land for food and sustainability, we also need to be careful that we maintain good stewardship and do not exploit the wonderful things the earth provides.
“Earthkeeping” is a word used by people of faith to describe the nature of our responsibility to care for creation. It springs from our wonder, awe and gratitude for God’s wisdom, creativity, and blessings that fill the natural world. It also grows out of our dismay and concern about the degradations and “groaning” of God’s good creation.
Faithful earthkeeping involves extending the justice, peace, reconciliation, hope and love of Christ to all creation. In caring for the earth, we also deepen our relationship to God and one another, making our faith more alive and relevant in and to a broken world.”
How do we respond to God’s call to keep the earth? We can get involved in actions that help us to be aware of, sustain and protect our environment and the resources God has entrusted to our use and care. The following are a few simple ways to be good stewards of God’s earth:
- Pray and worship. Commit to spend intentional time in prayer about environmental issues and concerns. Also, make a habit of worshipping God for his artistry. Worship God for a beautiful sunrise. Walk in nature and sing hymns that praise our Creator. Enjoy this amazing gift of our lovely created world.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Look for basic and creative ways to recycle and organize a system for recycling in your home. Bring metal to church to recycle for Zach’s Place!
- Be aware of environmental policies and impacts in organizations and government. Talk to legislators and policy makers to advocate for environmental issues.
- Find creative ways to link conservation with love of God and neighbor. For a Christian, these acts are about moral obedience and love, not cultural conformity.
God’s Work – Our Hands