Earth Day Reflections

Sunday I praught* a sermon titled, Created to have Dominion?

The process of researching, writing, delivering, and visiting with folks afterward gave me much opportunity to reflect on the world and my role within it.

First of all, I chuckled to myself when I realized that one of the issues on the first Earth Day (1970) was concern about Interstate Highways and the problems they would cause for the environment. I chuckled because I have never wondered whether or not there should be Interstates, whether they were a good idea, or what negative consequences they might bring. Interstates are simply a reality of the world in which I have lived my entire life. As I thought about it though, it hit me; trees were cut down, large chunks of natural landscape were disrupted and paved, travel and oil consumption increased, all thanks to the Interstate Highway System.

Though not a part of my manuscript, during the 11:00 service I found myself thinking about the convenience of individually wrapped slices of cheese. I asked (rhetorically, of course) how many people had guessed growing up that they would see such a thing in their lives. And while, individually wrapped cheese slices are simply a way of life, think about the impact that they have. The plastic has to be manufactured somewhere and then is simply thrown away as waste. And it’s not just cheese, think of all of the things that are individually wrapped for sanitary and convenience reasons. Wow, what a great deal resources must be wasted to make our lives “easier!”

On a related note, last Friday I found myself in conversation with different cell phone companies as our current contract is almost up and I think a change might be good. I got frustrated through the conversations though, feeling like the business is such a racket. Once frustrated, I began to ask questions. How many people own a cell phone? How many people replace said phone every 2 years (or more frequently even)? Where do those old cell phones go? What affect will those phones have on our planet over the next generation or so (especially as the population and cell phone prevalence both continue to skyrocket)?

I am increasingly feeling like our lives are spiraling on this path of destruction and we are completely blind to it. And, while that observation might sound gloomy and dire, I really feel more hopeful than anything else. I am hopeful that Christians will continue to better understand our call to be partners with God in caring for creation. I am hopeful that a new generation of Christians will continue to ask difficult questions and continue to have their lives shaped by God’s call. I am hopeful because I know that the same God who created and declared creation to be good, continues to be at work to create and recreate in our midst today.

*When a teacher teaches, we say they taught. I’m working on creating a world in which, after a preacher delivers a sermon, we say they have praught. I don’t remember where I first heard this “word” used, but I appreciate it more and more all the time…

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