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We used this prayer for our prayer walk this week at Grace, and I thought it was so beautiful that I wanted to be sure to share it. The leader says the plain text verbiage, and everyone responds with the text in bold.
Loving God, we remember that Jesus taught us to pray saying, “Our Father…”
You created us, you made this world, and you called your creation very good. Yet often we forget that you are our loving Parent who continues to bless your world.
Jesus told us that you are “…in heaven…”
Yet we fail to live in awe of you. We take you for granted, and we don’t see the awesome beauty of the world you have made.
We pray, “Hallowed be your name…”
We confess that our reverence for you does not always lead us to care reverently for your earth, sky and sea.
We pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”
We confess that we often put our own interests first-exploiting your creation, and living for our own convenience and self-interest.
We pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”
We confess that we consume more than our share of the world’s resources, while billions go hungry every day and your whole creation suffers.
We pray, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
We confess that we see these words only in spiritual terms, while the Bible is filled with teachings about economic justice and creation care.
We pray, “Save us from the time of trial.”
Help us to resist the temptations of spending more, using more, acquiring more, and wasting more.
We pray, “Deliver us from evil…”
Free us from greed and self-centeredness that separate us from you and others.
We pray, “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.”
Help us to know that in caring for your wonderful world, we are working for your kingdom, being good stewards of your creative power, and giving you glory.
We pray, “Amen.”
We end our prayers with “Amen,” a word that means “let it be so.” We know we can be faithful disciples by your grace. Amen!
Last Tuesday in worship, Shane Benjamin talked about the difference between dominion and domination. Humans were given dominion over creation—that is, God asked them to take care of it. God gave them a garden and everything they needed, more than they needed, and God trusted them with all of it.
God asked them to work with creation, in and through and alongside nature. But the wounds of sin cause us to lash out in fear and a need for control. Instead of having dominion, we seek domination. We live on this earth aggressively and violently, destroying and dominating rather than caretaking. Concrete and metal and machines and big agriculture separate us from the ground from which we were made, and our relationship with adamah, with the created order, and with our food is broken.
God created us for a life of abundance and intimacy with God, with one another, and with creation. Our walls of separateness and domination cannot stop God from being a God of abundance. God always has leftovers.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2).
God’s original plan was to hang out in a garden with a bunch of naked vegetarians. So let’s get naked—metaphorically. Let’s throw away the fig leaves and receive the gift of healing that God offers us. Let’s tear down some walls and build a garden instead.
(you just knew I was going to sneak that last one in there!)
Every day is Earth day, right? But since I do love Earth Day so much, I like to celebrate it all week long. Yesterday, I shared some stuff to read related to environmental stewardship; today I thought I’d share some things to DO related to caring for creation:
- Garden (come back for more getting-started resources on this one later in the week): whether you have space for one small pot or a backyard just dying to be converted into a vegetable garden, gardening is one of the best ways for you to begin caring for God’s creation (including your own health too, of course!). And while you’re at it, plant a row for the hungry and donate your extras to the Grace Care Center Choice Pantry.
- Go for a walk – on a local trail, at a local park, in your neighborhood. Get outside and enjoy God’s creation wherever you find it.
- Ditch the chemicals (or ditch the lawn altogether)
- Get rid of single-use items (paper towels, paper napkins, disposable silverware, etc.)
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter
- You’re already recycling and reducing, so spread the word to friends, families and neighbors
- Join a CSA (check out the upcoming informational meeting for Victory Acres if you’re still looking for a CSA)
- Volunteer with local conservation organizations like the Central Indiana Land Trust, your city’s park department, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to name a few!
- And join the Grace Creation Care ministry if you haven’t already – we need you!
Add your suggestions below!
- God, Green, and the Gospel: An Earth Day Reflection
- From the Salt Lake Tribune: “If we profess a love for God, for each other, our neighbors as ourselves, shouldn’t we be protecting what God loves, which is the creation?”
- Earth Day 2013 focuses on climate change
- Read this and join us in asking our faith leaders to preach about creation care
- IVP has some Earth Day deals on some great reads (Making Peace with the Land is a must-read, so get your hands on a copy if you haven’t already)
- Why John Piper recycles
- Creation care on the front page of the Indy Star this morning!
What are you doing to celebrate God’s beautiful creation on this “official” Earth Day?
Do you need a little something to encourage you with “Earth Week” coming up? Or maybe something to share with friends that think your green tendencies are weird? Check out this great short film on creation care from Northland Church:
I found this interview with Eugene Peterson (author of The Message translation of the Bible, among other great books) and Peter Harris, one of the founders of A Rocha, several months ago and meant to blog about it then, but it somehow got lost in the mess. Read the whole thing. Some of my favorite tid-bits:
If, on the other hand, you do what you do because you believe it pleases the living God, who is the Creator and whose handiwork this is, your perspective is very different. I don’t think there is any guarantee we will save the planet. I don’t think the Bible gives us much reassurance about that. But I do believe it gives God tremendous pleasure when his people do what they were created to do, which is care for what he made.
I think the Christian vision of conservation is exactly as Eugene framed it. It’s a wider one that has to do with human flourishing, that has to do with recognizing that a ravaged creation has wrecked not just species but God’s intention for time, for Sabbath, and that in turn wrecks families and whole societies.
Every Christian leader I’ve ever met in poor parts of the world understands that they live an unmediated relationship with the creation. That means that if there is damage done to the creation, there is damage done to the human community. I would argue that the economic possibilities lie now in the building of a sustainable economy; that’s where the smart money is today. In any case, an economy founded on degrading the creation is theologically incoherent. The old model that you can make your money any which way and then give some of it away when you’re rich enough is lacking biblical warrant. A much better way is to make money in a way that impacts the poor and the planet beneficially.
Have you seen the newly released study on global temperatures? The previously available data only went back around 2000 years, but this goes back 11,000+ years. If we needed more incentive to begin acting dramatically right now, this is it. Andrew Sullivan calls it the “climate game-changer” and says:
To be perfectly frank, this graph shows our civilization to be unsustainable unless we dramatically alter its source of energy. Maybe we can adapt – in ways our ancestors did. But they were able to do so over much, much longer periods of time, and were not actually creating the situation.
If you haven’t already, “like” the Creation Care’s Facebook page for lots of Creation Care events, articles, and quotes.
Certainly you’ve heard of BPA (Bisphenol A) over the last few years – it’s an additive used to make plastics. I had read of its hormone-like properties and the associated dangers it posed because it is often used in plastic food containers. I did some reading and began phasing out as many plastics in the kitchen as possible. About this same time, I saw Bag It at the Heartland Film Festival (best week of the year in Indy!) with some friends. It is a very eye-opening documentary about the prevalence of plastics in our lives and the unforeseen consequences both for the greater environment and for us personally. It is on Netflix and at the local libraries. You should grab a copy, invite some friends over, and have your eyes opened. A few easy changes that we made after watching Bag It include:
- We like to party. So do a few of our friends. Rather than buy disposable party-ware, we and a few other couples share our reusable party goods, like plates, napkins, cups, silverware, etc. That way, we’re eliminating all of that disposable stuff, plus none of us has to own (and store) all of that stuff on their own.
- We compost, which eliminates tons of trash, which in turn eliminates the plastic bags that hold trash.
- We cloth diaper, which eliminates all of those plastic disposable diapers (and more trash bags). Check out our friends’ local cloth diaper shop/natural parenting store if you’re interested in learning more – they are the experts!
- We buy our soaps and shampoos from a local artisan, Herbal Arts, so as to avoid all of those nasty parabens and phtalates and other scary additives in most commercially-available products (plus, it’s like a visit to the spa every time I get to go to the store!).
- We bring our own bags every where, we’ve eliminated single-use items like napkins and paper towels, and we buy in bulk as much as possible.
- We garden and participate in CSAs and co-ops, which eliminates lots of single-use items in the process.
- I know there’s plenty more that we could do…what suggestions do you have?
All of this came to mind after reading Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed in last week’s NYT, in which he discusses some new research regarding endocrine-disrupting chemicals (like BPA):
Just this month, a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that endocrine disruptors that are sometimes added to PVC plastic cause mice to grow obese and suffer liver problems — and the effect continues with descendants of those mice, generation after generation.
Another study found that women with a pesticide residue in their blood bore babies who were more likely to be overweight at the age of 14 months.
Dr. Blumberg, the pioneer of the field, says he strongly recommends that people — especially children and women who are pregnant or may become pregnant — try to eat organic foods to reduce exposure to endocrine disruptors, and try to avoid using plastics to store food or water. “My daughter uses a stainless steel water bottle, and so do I,” he said.
We see that God’s physical creation is in decay and groaning because of abuse and neglect by human beings, and we need your help to do something about it.
Thank you for your interest in Creation Care at Grace and for visiting our booth following Pastor Dave’s sermon on the sixth broken place – the earth. We look forward to meeting you and working together to help Grace become a leader in caring for God’s creation. In an effort to get to know one another and our interests, we will be holding a gathering for anyone interested in Creation Care issues on Thursday, January 10th at 7pm in Room 111 at Grace.
At next month’s meeting, you will hear from leaders involved with Creation Care at Grace about how you can join this new ministry, and we want to hear and learn from you, as well. If you cannot attend next month’s meeting, but are interested in learning more about what’s going on with this new ministry at Grace, please read below for additional details. Because Creation Care includes such a diverse array of issues, we have broken down the topic into three sub-categories: Physical Creation, Food, and Resource Use.
The physical creation is deteriorating as a direct result of sin. As Christians, we are called and designed to be good stewards of the Earth, its inhabitants, and ecosystems.. You want to be on this team if you are concerned/passionate about the following:
- Restoring physical creation (both at the Grace campus and elsewhere)
- Caring for and conserving ecosystems, including plants, animals, and the habitats that support all species
- Reducing air and water pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change
Contact Will Ditzler at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more about the Physical Creation team and cannot make it to the January meeting.
Food is the basis for life, and, as individuals and families, we have the opportunity to have the most impact on our environment with our choices about how we eat. You want to be on this team if you are concerned/passionate about the following:
- Starting a community garden, Plant a Row for the Hungry, home gardening, etc.
- Educating others about sustainable food and agriculture
Contact Sara Sterley at email@example.com if you are interested in learning more about the Food team and cannot make it to the January meeting.
Our collective resource use is wreaking havoc on creation at all levels. Natural resources are a finite gift from God that should be used wisely and respectfully. You want to be on this team if you are concerned/passionate about the following:
- Green energy
- Sustainable transportation
- Reducing energy use (at Grace and educating Grace people about how to reduce their household energy consumption)
Contact Mac Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more about the Resource Use team and cannot make it to the January meeting.
Thanks so much for your passion for Creation Care. We look forward to seeing you at Thursday’s meeting!