It was Earth Day a few Saturdays ago and I had almost forgotten! But that morning, the birds woke me up. There had been a gentle rain in the night and they were in the mood to sing. I got my cup of coffee, went outside to let the dog out, and before I could look down at my cell phone, the flowers in my yard greeted me with new blooms, seemingly smiling wide and soaking in the raindrops and the rising sun.
How could I forget for a minute how glorious is this world that God made?
“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” - Psalm 118:23
Waking up on Earth Day to the birdsong and blooming flowers – it was as if God was reminding me of his love for me, for us, for birds, for flowers, for all of creation. And, reminding me to not take it for granted.
"On the glorious splendor of your majesty and your wondrous works, I will meditate." - Psalm 145:5
Working at Buckner has made my faith grow, and as my faith grows, so does my love for God’s creation and my sense of duty to acknowledge it, honor it, care for it. God made us in his image to carry out an awesome assignment: to take responsibility for everything he lovingly made (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:15).
But with my faith, my concern is growing as well.
I worry about the children I saw recently who live and play in mounds of trash along the sea and don’t have fish to eat because of pollution, chemical spills and overfishing. I worry about all of us that are breathing, eating and drinking microplastics and chemicals increasingly found everywhere on our planet. I worry about the loss of coral reefs, rainforests and other wild spaces that are critical for the survival of thousands of species, including our own.
Like my cell phone almost made me miss the flowers and birds that Saturday morning, the various kinds of screens constantly in front of us inside our cars, offices and homes increasingly distracts us from nature and robs us of the opportunity to delight and celebrate his creation. It’s like we still haven’t learned our lesson from the Garden of Eden! God gave us paradise but we are too distracted, self-centered and greedy to experience it fully.
Deputized as stewards of the work of God’s own hand, this means we must take good care of each other and the rest of creation (Psalm 24:1).
Every once in a while, I have a recollection of the way it felt as a child to run barefoot through the grass, the way the honeysuckle and sweet olive trees smelled, the way the fruit we’d pick off the trees in the backyard tasted, the way I’d marvel at the way the hummingbirds, stars and dolphins looked, the love I’d feel tending the vegetable garden with my grandparents, and the comfort from spending lazy days on the beach fishing and crabbing for our meals. These memories are lovely. Holy, even.
But they are bittersweet. Not only because I am no longer a child, but because I ache for the children who don’t get to – or don’t even want to –experience nature like that.
And, I hope and pray that we become better stewards of God’s own hand, and heed the call to take good care of his creation.
Written by Andrea Sparks, director of government relations for Buckner International.