Happy Earth Day, April 22, 2020

Happy Earth Day, April 22, 2020

Happy Earth Day! 

This morning, as I was getting ready for the day, I began thinking about and singing this hymn written by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1864)

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Over and around us lies

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light
Sun and moon and stars of light

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild
For all gentle thoughts and mild

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

As Richard Niell Donovan reflects on the hymn lyrics, he writes 

“The hymn praises God for a host of beauties––things that we encounter in everyday living, but often fail to appreciate––the beauty of the earth and skies, the beauty of each hour, the joy of ear and eye, and the joy of human love.  It also expresses thanksgiving for the church––and for Christ.

As we sing this hymn today, let us determine to be more intentional this week about seeing and appreciating the many beauties and joys that God has placed at our disposal”.

I’ve been wondering lately how often we take for granted the beauty of God’s creation, and we become mundane in our thoughts and appreciation and care. Have we only become consumers of creation and the resources? Are we only investing in opportunities of caring for creation because it’s required? Have we grown accustomed to only caring for creation that looks like us? Setting aside that we are called to care for all of God’s creation…not just fellow human beings, but the land, the animals, and all who lives in it?

I wonder … when you read the words from Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” What do these words, this verse mean to you?

We really do live in a beautiful part of the country, and it is so refreshing that overall, we are pretty mindful of how we can care for the earth, through various ways (recycling, reusable shopping bags, etc). I am thankful for the many folks in our congregation and community have have taught me many things in this area. I am by no means, an expert in leading the charge on creation care, which is maybe why the reflections for this week are more questions than answers, and even more ramblings of my thoughts around this topic.

On Tuesday and again today in the Daily Kids Zoom Check-in, we read two different creation based books with the children. One was a beautifully descriptive book of “When God Made the World” it is a really meaningful book about the detail God gave in creating the world and how we can do our part to care for it. Today, as Valerie led an activity with the children for Earth Day and read a book, I was encouraged when the children on Zoom were listing ways in with they can care for the earth! They are learning how to reuse, repurpose, up-cycle and care. They might not always know the reasons why we do things, but they are learning.

What have you learned this week as you have thought about Earth Day? What are you wondering about when you think about creation care? What areas are you doing well? And what areas have room for improvement?

On Friday, I do plan to share more of my journey with you all as we wrap up Creation Care Week. On Monday, it might have appeared that there was a hint of frustration by the lack of care for God’s creation and the world we live in as I mentioned briefly the vast amount of trash I was witnessing lately just lying on the ground. Again, it made me wonder, that by my not stopping to pick up any trash along the way, am only adding to the problem? Again, some days we all do really well in caring for creation and the other days…not so much. But I do think, we (everyone around the world) can do better, at least to try to do better, be better stewards and caretakers of the world we live in.

It is my hope and prayer that we can be faithful stewards of the resources God has entrusted us to care for.

May the peace of Christ be with you today and always… amen.

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