While there will, no doubt, be some oh-so-trendy celebrations of “Earth Day” across our land today, people of faith and perhaps particularly people of biblical faith should understand something of the stewardship of creation. We believe that, from the beginning, God “saw that it was good.” We believe in the mystery of the incarnation in which God’s word “became flesh” in the midst of the material world. And we believe that the Holy Spirit “renews the face of the earth.”
Eastern Orthodox theology has long championed this perspective and the current Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople is known as the “Green Patriarch” for his passionate teaching in this area. For all our complicity in the destruction of the environment Protestant and Catholic Christians have come to embrace the need for witness and action to preserve the resources of the planet. And there are signs today that Evangelicals and Pentecostals too are awakening to this bibilical call to care for creation.
How could we all not? Do we not all pray together the words of today’s morning psalm?
“Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog, tempestuous wind, doing his will;
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and winged birds;
Kings of the earth and al peoples, princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens, old and young together,
Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for his Name only is exalted,
his splendor is over earth and heaven!”
(Psalm 148: 7-13)