People who care for Creation
Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday (April 14 to 20, 2019)
Creation Care as a Hopeful Spiritual Practice for Lent
Lenten devotional by Lynne Baab and Janette Plunkett. Illustration by Dave Baab
Walking with Jesus
This week, as you try new forms of prayer for people whose jobs involve them in caring for creation or as you consider getting involved with a group of Christians who care for creation, imagine yourself walking with Jesus. Imagine that you are helping Jesus sustain creation in a new way for you, and ask Jesus to help you feel close to him as you do it. Ask him to transform you more into his image.
As Good Friday and Easter Sunday approach, be sure to rejoice in the fact that Jesus, through his death and resurrection, freed humans, animals and all of creation from the power of sin, death and Satan. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
Genesis 1:28-30 and 2:15. Ponder what it means in today’s world to have dominion and to tend and care for the garden.
Psalm 19:1-6 provides a good overview of this Lenten study because it portrays how clearly God speaks to us in nature. What are the places in nature that speak to you of God’s character, love and power?
Thank God for Christians who advocate for creation care and who work hard to care for creation and help others care for creation. Pray that God would guide them, strengthen them and help them make a different. You may want to pray for: the leaders of A Rocha and Earth Ministries, and Christians around the world and at Bethany who work to care for creation.
Thank God for scientists who do the research to help all of us learn to care for creation. Pray for the members of the IPCC and for scientists who study many other areas that help us learn how to care for the earth, including scientists whose research focuses on the air we breathe, the plants that feed us, soil conservation, safe chemicals for agriculture and industry, and endangered species. Pray that God would guide them into truth and help them communicate what they learn so all of us can do a better job.
Pray for people whose work directly impacts God’s earth, such as people who work for Seattle Public Utilities in waste disposal, city planners in Seattle and elsewhere, farmers, car manufacturers, and others.
Pray for yourself, that God would guide you and help you do the best job you can as you try to care for creation. Acknowledge caring for creation is a moral problem and ask God to help you let people know that real progress can be made. Nothing is beyond God’s capacity and in this devotional, we have explored many ways to make a difference. Pray that you would follow-up on what you’ve explored this year during Lent.
Read Psalm 36:6 together and name as many jobs as you can that involve caring for animals.
Think about family members and friends who have jobs that involve caring for creation. Help your children understand what those people do. If you don’t know anyone, watch a science video with your children and talk with them about what the scientists do. With your children, pray for scientists and others who care for creation as a part of their jobs. Pray for all people who work hard to care for creation in their home and daily life.
Make a piece of art out of fir or pine cones.
“You and I have a problem – in fact three problems. The environmental crisis is not a silly fiction created by mad scientists and political demagogues. . . . But we have a second problem. Some of the people most concerned about the ecological dangers tell us that historic Christianity is the problem. We must, they tell us, reject the biblical teaching that the Creator is distinct from the earth and that people alone are made in the image of God. . . . Australian scientist Pete Singer says that people are no more important than monkeys and mosquitoes. To think that we are more important is “speciesism.” Fortunately, biblical Christians reject this theological nonsense. But then so often we turn around and worship the earth in a different way. By the cars we drive, the houses we purchase, the affluent lifestyles we live, we show that we really worship the god of materialistic consumerism. That’s our third problem.”
-Ron Sider, “Tending the Garden without Worshipping It” in The Best Preaching on Earth
Spend some time on the websites of Christian organizations engaged in Creation Care like Presbyterian Environmental Ministries, A Rocha (local science and retreat center), Earth Ministries and Plant with a Purpose.
Learn about the work of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), which works to study and disseminate knowledge about climate change, and to lay the foundations for actions needed to counteract negative impacts. You may want to convey a personal thanks to Bethany’s Phil Mote who has done extensive work with the IPCC.
Spring by Mary Oliver