Wednesday, April 14 2021
April is Earth Month, with Earth Day on April 22. The purpose of naming this time is to celebrate this amazing world that is our home, and to drive positive action for the care of our planet.
Why does this matter to Christians?
The Bible begins with the story of Creation. Our Creation story tells us that what God created, God calls good. I believe humans are meant to be stewards of the Earth, not conquerors, not owners: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants too.” Psalm 24:1 (CEB) John Welsey, the founder the Methodist movement said in a sermon:
The great lesson that our blessed Lord inculcates here…is that God is in all things, and that we are to see the Creator in the glass of every creature; that we should use and look upon nothing as separate from God…but with a true magnificence of thought survey heaven and earth and all that is therein as contained by God in the hollow of his hand, who by his intimate presence holds them all in being, who pervades and activates the whole created frame, and is in a true sense the soul of the universe. (Sermon 23, “Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, III” I.11, 1748)
If nothing is separate from God, we ought to regard the environment, the creatures in it, the materials we extract, and the possessions we own with gratitude. And let us not forget the people. There are numerous scripture texts that instruct followers to care for the most vulnerable people--widows, immigrants, “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:31-40, Deuteronomy 24:19, to name a few.) In our time, some of the most vulnerable populations are those impacted the most by climate change and pollution. Those who are or will become climate refugees. Those subject to environmental racism, such as people of color whose neighborhoods are located next to industrial pollution. Therefore, Christians must respond to issues of environmental justice and the climate emergency.
In this blog series, I will be highlighting people from our church or community who have found ways to be earth-friendly in ways that coincide with their passions and ways of being. Beyond lists of do’s and don’ts, and tips and tricks, I hope you will be encouraged to look for places where care of the earth intersects with your areas of interest or the things you already do in your life.
Look out soon for posts to come on Earth-Care x Fashion, Travel, Technology, and more.
Stephanie Heifner is a lay member of St. Paul’s UMC and co-chair of Be Healthy. Be Green. Committee.