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04.22.2015
An Invitation you should not refuse - ASH WEDNESDAY
My Plea to Christians in Baltimore and Everywhere
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Earth Day Makes Me Want To…

In 192 countries around the world people will celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Since 1970, it’s been a day…

post by Samantha

In 192 countries around the world people will celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Since 1970, it’s been a day to think about protecting the environment.

Environmental concern has become one of those areas that almost got away from us. From Christian folk, I mean. Somewhere along the line a lot of God’s people started to feel like environmental concern was the kind of thing flaming liberals and tree hugging nut jobs were into. Many Christians figured that since they didn’t want to eat granola or campaign to save rare snails, environmental issues were low priority. Besides, we concluded, isn’t that a liberal thing? And isn’t all that global warming stuff propaganda anyway?

And it almost got away from us. We almost forgot this is supposed to be OUR stuff. We missed the assignment the Creator gave us at the very beginning. It’s almost hard to believe, seeing as right there on the first pages of the Bible we find a clear description of God creating the earth and carefully placing its care into our hands. We are, after all, stewards of God’s planet, the sole caretakers he left responsible for tending to this terrestrial ball. 

I’ve come a long way on this one. Today I recognize that as a follower of Jesus and child of God I have a responsibility to care for His creation.  I don’t see it as only a political issue; it’s a biblical issue. I actually think God wants us to take care of his world.

One day God will give me a new body. But in the meantime I’m to care for the one God gave me. It belongs to him. It’s a place where He dwells. It’s pretty much the same thing with the planet. One day God will make all things new, a new earth. But in the meantime, we need to care for Earth, as it belongs to the Lord and his glory is woven into the fabric of all that he has made.

There is a lot to talk about on this, but let me take you where my mind goes on Earth Day.

  • I think of sitting on the dock at the cabin in Minnesota, watching a blue heron gracefully swoop across the azure ripples, toes pointed behind her like a ballerina.
  • I remember the last time I was skiing in Colorado, where the grand Rocky’s loomed, topped with snow, like giant jagged cupcakes with frosting.
  • I recall a recent midnight walk to the end of my driveway to deliver the garbage can to the curb, when I looked up to see a bright, near-full moon smiling back at me in the night. It startled me, like the feeling you get when you realize someone is watching you. 

These things elicit something inside of me. An atheist once said, “It’s a terrible thing not to have anyone to thank.” Well, I do have someone to thank. And giving gratitude for God’s creation is an essential act of being human.

So I thank God. This earth has so many blights and burdens, heart aches and hardships. But to those who are willing, it also holds beauty. And it invites us to worship the One who gave it.

Earth Day makes me want to worship. 

Which leads me to a share some words with you that go so deep into my soul I don’t even know what to say to you about them. Except to say, I hope you take some moments to let them sink into you, too. And worship.

I’m talking about an old hymn that first appeared in 1864. It was written by a 29 year old named Folliot Pierpont who was mesmerized by the countryside where he lived. He had his own Earth Day mindset and wrote these powerful words that have been sung by Christians ever since.

I love the words because they help me feel and see the beauty of life on this earth, things I too often take for granted. Then it reminds me to be grateful not just for the things themselves, but for the Giver.

Let me share the words with you. I urge you to drink the words slowly, not as a thirsty kid gulps from a garden hose with loud gasps on a summer day, but sipping each phrase in a way that allows your heart to fill slowly with gratitude. If you drink slowly, each line will prompt a personal picture for you of a place, an event, a moment, experience or person that will generate a well of gratitude springing from a deep place inside of you.

Here are a couple of recordings you might also appreciate.

Click here for some beautiful girls’ voices, innocent and pure like the pictures that portray the lyrics.

Here is the hymn to a different tune, the one I first learned, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The words are what do it for me. Set today’s burdens aside for a moment this Earth Day. Worship with me:

For the Beauty of the Earth 

For the beauty of the earth,

for the glory of the skies,

for the love which from our birth

over and around us lies;

Lord of all, to thee we raise

this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

For the beauty of each hour

of the day and of the night,

hill and vale, and tree and flower,

sun and moon, and stars of light;

Lord of all, to thee we raise

this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

For the joy of ear and eye,

for the heart and mind’s delight,

for the mystic harmony,

linking sense to sound and sight;

Lord of all, to thee we raise

this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

For the joy of human love,

brother, sister, parent, child,

friends on earth and friends above,

for all gentle thoughts and mild;

Lord of all, to thee we raise

this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

For thy church, that evermore

lifteth holy hands above,

offering up on every shore

her pure sacrifice of love;

Lord of all, to thee we raise

this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

For thyself, best Gift Divine,

to the world so freely given,

for that great, great love of thine,

peace on earth, and joy in heaven:

Lord of all, to thee we raise

this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

2 comments.

2 thoughts on “Earth Day Makes Me Want To…

  1. Cold winter night.I went outside to take the can to the curb. I gasped in shock. The blackness, the snow, the neighbors Christmas lights. This is heaven, right here. In eternal mind. Thank you.

  2. Thanks. This helps. I’m sometimes disillusioned by those who show disregard to the creation and those who worship the creation. Worship of the Creator provides the path we can take.

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