April 27, 2012

Happy Arbor Day

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters"- Psalm 24:1-2

Today is National Arbor Day and last weekend was Earth Day. I only felt it was appropriate to write a post about 'the Earth'. 
Michael and I spend a lot of time in the trees: 
I have to start by saying I did not grow up a 'tree-hugger'. We did not recycle, mainly because it was inconvenient. I didn't believe it was viewed as something important or necessary because the world will be destroyed in the end and was recycling really making a difference? I grew up hearing in Sunday school that the earth is not our home, we are merely passing by until we 'reach' heaven. I used to be annoyed with all the 'save the Earth' talk and I wrote it off because we were only temporarily living here anyway...right? I feel like protecting the earth became a political issue that is only talked about on one side of the aisle and in some circles even laughed at. 

Well, in the last two years my perspective has shifted. It all started with witnessing my first home birth October 6th, 2010 (I will definitely be writing about my experiences witnessing birth in the future!). This led me to start thinking about my body and how it was designed. I then started thinking about the food I was consuming. That led to wanting to shop local and buy organic. I no longer wanted to be on or use medications that weren't necessary. I started looking into natural products for cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning supplies. My husband bikes to work/school every day. We started walking to the grocery store, which is actually a lovely 1.5 mile walk. We planted our first garden and started composting and recycling. No, I am not saving the world but I am starting to see the importance of taking responsibility for your own lifestyle - and yes, I am now the 'crunchy, granola' friend. :)

Growing up in church I hear all the time how we are supposed to be good stewards of everything we have, mainly pertaining to money. I started to wonder why Christians were not the biggest hippies out there, as stewards of this planet. Also in the church many people use language like, "I feel most connected with God when I am in nature". I don't think that is by accident. If God gave us this Earth and God calls it good, why on earth are we not taking care of it? 

I just read the book "7, an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" by Jen Hatmaker. I could probably take a whole blog to talk about my thoughts on this book but that will have to be another time. Jen takes 7 aspects of life and each month learns to minimize or improve in those areas. One of her months focuses on waste. She spends a chapter going through her family's experience learning to recycle, compost, garden, driving one car, etc. She quotes in her book author Wendell Barry who says it best:

"The ecological teaching of the Bible is simply inescapable: God made the world because He wanted it made. He thinks the world is good, and He loves it. It is His world...He has never revoked the conditions, bearing on His gift to us of the use of it, that obliges us to take excellent care of it. If God loves the world, then how might any person of faith be excused for not loving it or justified in destroying it?" 

As a believer in Christ I recognize that he came to redeem the world. I came across another author that said, "I think the message is that God loves this place. God wants to restore this place. It's not so much that we were made for heaven as that heaven was made for earth"  And often we limit that at a relational or spiritual level, but why not consider it ecologically? I cannot pretend that ecology and theology do not originate from the same source. One day there will be a new earth, one made perfect as it was intended to be. I want to be part of the process of bringing heaven to earth, both in my relationships and in the way I live my life. 

I put Fernando Ortega's version of "This is My Father's World"
Yes, you will get a cheesy montage of nature pictures, but the lyrics are beautiful and speak to everything that I am feeling about the way we view Earth: 

This is my Father's world
and to my listening ears,

                                           all nature sings and ‘round me rings 
the music of the spheres. 

                                                This is my Father’s world, 

I rest me in the thought 

of rocks and trees, of skies and seas, 
His hand, the wonders wrought. 

This is my Father’s world, 

the birds, their carols raise, 

the morning light, the lily white 
declare their maker’s praise. 
This is my Father’s world, 
He shines in all that’s fair. 
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, 
He speaks to me everywhere. 

This is my Father’s world, 
oh let me ne’er forget 
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, 
God is the ruler yet. 
This is my Father’s world, 
the battle is not done. 
Jesus, who died, shall be satisfied 
and earth and heaven be one

The presence of God is so tangible in nature and I want to do what I can to preserve the planet God created. I challenge you to look at your life and consider ways that you can better steward this earth. 

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