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Stewardship and Caring for the Earth

By Rev. Rhonda Pigott Thorndale

 

Psalm 8

Matthew 25: 25-33I seem to be anyways conscience of a personal experience with nature. It deepened my appreciation for creation and my responsibility to care for it.  Although I must also admit, I can be negligent and other things take priority. I used to hike almost daily the ridge from our orchard on the west side of Oyama to Spion Kopje. During those morning adventures, I witnessed breathtaking sunrises that seemed to paint the sky with hues of gold and crimson. In that moment, I felt small yet connected to something greater than myself.

 

I have always treasured my time outdoors. It’s outside I feel closest to the Holy. On our small bit of land we live on now, there are several large trees, some old, some young, some domestic and some natural. It is here I find the inter-connectedness of the land, and the creatures, and the Holy that share it with us.


As I gazed upon the beauty of creation, I realized that my actions have an impact on the world around me. I began to make conscious choices to reduce my waste, conserve energy, and support sustainable practices. With the hot, dryer summers, my little gardens are slowly being replanted with more drought resistant plants.


The two passages of scripture I read today touch my heart deeply. In Psalm 8, David says, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is humankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" We were so fortunate to experience the awesome display of Northern lights a few weeks ago. Tom and I took a blanket to the top of the property and just laid there and watched.


Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:24-33 to seek first the kingdom of God and great righteousness, trusting that our heavenly Father will provide for our needs. As we prioritize our relationship with God, we will naturally care for creation. Let us embrace our role as stewards of the earth, living out our faith with compassion, justice, and a deep appreciation for the beauty of God's creation.


As followers of Jesus, we are called to be good stewards of the earth and in doing so honours God and benefits all people. But amid caring there is still so much destruction.


Sharon and I want to share a short contrasting prose with you:


Earth cries out in anguish

as we ravage her beauty

destroying the delicate balance

of her ecosystems

Earth's delicate balance

in our hands

a sacred trust

a responsibility

to preserve and protect

We pollute her skies

choking her breath

and poison her waters

killing her fish

the intricate web of life

that binds us all

together

in this fragile dance

We ravage her lands

clear-cutting her forests

and drilling her depths

for fleeting riches

the creatures, the trees

the waters, the land

all dependent on our choices

our actions, our will

We silence her creatures

extinguishing their songs

and destroy their habitats

leaving them homeless

to live sustainably

to live with intention

to reduce, reuse, recycle

to care for the earthand

all its inhabitants

We ignore her warnings

as she trembles with fury

in earthquakes and storms

and burns with fierce wildfires

no borders, no boundaries

just one earth

our homeour sanctuary

our future

We deny our responsibility

as her stewards and caretakers

and instead exploit her resources

for our own selfish gain

let us work together

hand in hand

to preserve the beauty

of this earthly land

Earth weeps at our destruction

and mourns her loss

Will we wake up to our folly

before it's too late to reverse the cost?

for future generations

and for the earth itself

may we be wise stewards

of this precious gift.


Questions for you …

o   How can I reduce my carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future?

o   What changes can I make in my daily life to live more simply and reduce waste?

o   How can I support organizations and initiatives working to protect and restore creation?


Unfortunately, we can’t do everything but I’d like to share ten thoughts with you...

1. Spend time outdoors: Take walks, go hiking, have a picnic, or simply sit in a park or backyard to appreciate nature's beauty.

2. Practice mindfulness: Pay attention to your surroundings, sights, sounds, and smells to fully engage with creation.

3. Learn about nature: Study the science and wonder of the natural world to deepen your appreciation.

4. Cultivate a sense of wonder: Approach creation with a childlike awe and curiosity.

5. Find spiritual significance: Reflect on how nature points to God's character, majesty, and love.

6. Care for creation: Engage in activities that promote sustainability, conservation, and environmental stewardship.

7. Spend time in solitude: Allow yourself time to reflect and connect with God in the stillness of nature.

8. Practice gratitude: Express thanks for the beauty and blessings of creation.

9. Explore creation creatively: Write, paint, photograph, or express yourself creatively inspired by nature.

10. Share experiences with others: Enjoy creation with friends and family and share your wonder and awe with them.


As we care for the earth, we demonstrate our love for God and our neighbours. May our stewardship be a testament to our faith and a blessing to generations to come. Remember, experiencing God's creation is a personal and ongoing journey. Find ways that resonate with you and deepen your connection with nature and the Creator.


As we conclude today's reflection, let us remember that our faith is not just a matter of words, but also of actions. May our appreciation for the beauty of the world around us inspire us to live in harmony with nature and to care for the earth as God's precious gift. May our lives reflect our love for God and our neighbour and may our care for creation be a testament to our faith.

Amen.

 

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