Today is April 22nd, Earth Day. If you have been a reader of this blog for any length of time you know that conservation is an important part of my thinking and there are always some links on this blog to inform and inspire creative thought about what it means to care for the planet. One of the essential parts of the conversation around environmental issues is the why. The reasons to care for the planet are numerous and varied. They range from economic to recreational to altruistic to just about everything in between. I would like to do today is to write an about why I care about environmental issues.
"He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17). The reason I care for the planet is simply because it is was created by Jesus, for Jesus and is held together by him. The planet is not mine, it is his and my care for it is an outflow of my love for him. It seems to me to be incongruous to say that I love him and then trash what is his. Early on in the book of Genesis we see that God created humanity to cooperate with him in the care for all that he made.
When we stop caring for what God created we are living as less than human since we are living at odds with our basic crated purpose. It is no wonder that we are less than fulfilled as a race and that the earth is struggling under our demands. When we are alienated from God we become alienated from our very purpose and mission. On the other hand when we are reconciled to God through Jesus we are now renewed to care for all that God has created and we are going to see that creation in light of the one who redeemed us, Jesus our Lord.
I feel like it is a sacred responsibility to steward all that Christ has entrusted to us for his glory and for his benefit. We can't divorce loving Christ and caring for a planet that was created by him and is held together by him. This planet is a sign of the Lord's grace and mercy, he gives us so much and so freely and our response should be to care for it, not for the planet's sake, but for Christ's sake.
One of the practical ways to connect our life with Christ with the care for the planet is to think about the Lord when making a new choice relating to care for the planet. When we do this we are offering our choices to him in a new way and lifting up the reason for our actions as an outflow from our prayer and devotional life. This is actually how we are are called to live all of life. This practice really helps us to live an integrated and whole life. I encourage you to try it with something simple once a day and see how it changes your perspective.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Psalm 46:10a “Be still and know that I am God”.
Stillness seems to be the antithesis of our current lifestyle. So much of life is about being busy and doing more. In some ways it is odd since several decades ago people thought ours would be an age of leisure. They thought that as “modern” conveniences such as dishwashers and microwaves became more available people would spend less time on chores and be free to pursue leisure. We now laugh a little at this notion since we feel anything if not hurried all the time. Our lives are so full that we move from activity to activity hardly knowing what day it is or where we are. By the end of the day we are exhausted from having been up early and pushing until late in evening. We might have less time washing dishes or cooking food but that time is now full with a host of other activities.
This state of hurry is expected, if not encouraged by our society. We often see this as a sign of success in business, medicine or even ministry. If a doctor isn’t busy we might assume that they aren’t busy because they aren’t good. We might even wonder if they are lazy since they haven’t been drumming up more business.
The problem with excessive hurry in one’s life is that it can impede our ability to get to know God. The Bible tells us to “be still” and in our stillness to know God. When Elijah fled from Mt. Carmel after his showdown with the prophets of Baal he wanted to spend time in the presence of God. He was told to go to Mt. Horeb where he was to have an encounter with God. While he was on the mountain there was wind, an earthquake and fire. God was not in the wind, nor the earthquake or the fire. It was only in the gentle whisper that Elijah heard God’s voice and entered into his presence (1 Kings 19). He was still before the Lord and discovered both the voice and the presence of the Lord.
For us to hear the voice of the Lord and experience deeper times of his presence we need to have times of stillness in our lives so that we can grow deeper in our life with Christ. We must protect this time and see it as an essential part of our lives, not a luxury. We can think of stillness as times where we come before the Lord simply to sit in his presence with our only agenda to give him our loving attention. This is not a time of quick intercessions or speedy prayers. It is time to be still and simply get to know God, to wait on him and minister before him.
Often we feel like we aren't doing anything or achieving anything. While initially it might seem this way the deeper reality is that we are simply obeying the Lord’s command to be still and get to know him. We come to this time with simple trust that obeying him is time well spent and that this is fundamental to what it means to be human. Over time we will come to treasure our time with the Lord since getting to know him is wonderful and life giving. I encourage you to think about how you could carve out some stillness in your life so that you can get to know the Lord more fully.