A pastor of mine often ended his prayers with “this is not our home,” telling us that we’re here briefly while in transit to heaven, so we should not get wrapped up in Earth.
But the pastor is mistaken. We’ve been placed on this planet for seventy (more or less) years to glorify and love God and to love others.
“1Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; 2Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. 3Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works!’”
— Psalm 66:1-3
“1The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. 2Day to day pours forth speech and night declares knowledge. 3There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 4yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
— Psalm 19:1–4
When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Jewish Law, he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
— Matthew 22:37-39
And we’re here on life-filled Earth to feel creation (a glimpse into God’s glory), for which we were given senses, minds, and wonder.
“24O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable and there, living things both small and great.”
— Psalm 104: 24-25
God obviously likes life and variety of life, for he made so much of it, and being wise, he provided the balance among species and systems—the ecosystems—that richly support it.
“If you study what the Creator has put here on earth, you will learn many things. The earth has much to teach us.”
— Vi Hilbert (Upper Skagit Tribe) in Messengers of the Wind (Quoted. in Chris Highland, Meditations of Walt Whitman, 67).
We also observe that God operates the universe using physical laws (if you stumble off a cliff, gravity will hurtle you down), and baked into the realities of this planet is that if we destroy Earth’s ecosystems, not only do we destroy the miracles and the beauty he put here, but we also destroy our life-support. Given our free will and mental ability, we have the power to significantly impact nature, but inherent in loving God and loving others is the caring for this blue-green garden of a planet, which is both a blessing and a responsibility.
Miracles surround us—plants, animals, plains, mountains, rivers, oceans, sky, planets, stars—weaving a fabric which we’re part of, and through which we experience a bit of God’s being. God desires that we act in his image and that we exercise wise and loving dominion of Earth, its habitats, and our fellow species. How we respond to our opportunities and challenges on this planet, for whatever time we’re allotted, is a chance to put God’s love and will to work through our actions.
“We cannot be all that God wants us to be without caring about the earth.”
— Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life. (Quoted in “Teachings on Creation through the Ages,” The Green Bible, I-114.)
“The critical issue is not what we know but what we do with what we know.”
⸺ Hyman Rickover (father of America’s nuclear Navy)
Earth is a blessing and our home. We pray thanks for the miracles, and we pray for wisdom in our stewardship of them.
- The Blue Marble: NASA
- Frond: MRM
- Ladybugs: Pexels and Pixabay
Web search “free pictures of bugs” > https://www.pexels.com/search/bugs/> pexels-pixabay-144243.jpg.
- Southern Resident Killer Whales, photographer Holly Fearnbach (NOAA) for the website Marine Mammal Commission, https://www.mmc.gov/priority-topics/species-of-concern/southern-resident-killer-whale/ (accessed 22 Apr. 2023)
- Cape Flattery: MRM
- Earthrise: NASA
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