On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day rallies were held in America. Many mark this day as the birth of the modern environmental movement. Public and political awareness from these rallies led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of legislation such as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
As Christians, we understand our calling to care for the earth as originating far earlier than 1970. God empowered humanity to care for creation in sustainable and just ways right from the start. Our care is rooted in the following beliefs:
- God created the heavens and the earth and named them good (Genesis 1)
- The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it (1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 24:1-2)
- Creation is one revelation of God’s goodness, gospel and glory (Psalm 19:1-4)
Ilia Delio, in her book Christ in Evolution, affirms that last point in this way:
The world is created as a means of God’s self-revelation so that, like a mirror or footprint, it might lead us to love and praise the Creator. We are created to read the book of creation so that we may know the Author of Life. This book of creation is an expression of who God is and is meant to lead humans to what it signifies, namely, the eternal Trinity of dynamic, self-diffusive love (Christ in Evolution, p. 62).
The United Methodist Statement on Environmental Stewardship puts it this way:
All creation is under the authority of God and all creation is interdependent. Our covenant with God requires us to be stewards, protectors, and defenders of all creation. The use of natural resources is a universal concern and responsibility of all as reflected in Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
Since Earth Day falls on a Sunday this year, this week’s posts will include worship resources for celebrating God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. I pray they are helpful to you as you pray, adore, and fulfill your calling to care for God’s creation.
Worship Resource: Creation Praise
ONE VOICE: Psalm 19:1-4a (NRSV)
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Verses 1 and 2 of Beautiful by Phil Wickham
CCLI Song #5124024
ONE VOICE: Psalm 108:1-4 (NRSV)
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
The remainder of Beautiful by Phil Wickham
CCLI Song # 5124024
For more information on United Methodist beliefs regarding the natural world, click here.
compilation © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.
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