FOR MUCH of the last century, religious institutions have missed–or ignored–our responsibility as stewards of the creation and to the Creator. However, people of faith have long relished the grimy pleasures of gardening. The process of nurturing life brings contentment and a sense of wholeness in the accomplishment. We instinctively understand that we were designed to be gentle gardeners. We just haven’t realized the entire planet is our garden.
Creation care includes any activity that nurtures or sustains the health of our world, including the health of our souls. Butterfly and honeybee gardens. Composting. Gardening. Backyard chickens. Organic farming. Natural pest control. Just being outside.
So what does that have to do with faith?
As spiritual people, we are called to be gentle gardeners or good stewards of the earth. We are called to love and respect creation, just as God calls us to love and respect the Spirit and love and respect each other.
And yet, in the darkness of our humanity, we often overlook that responsibility in favor of financial gain, unsustainable living practices, and comfortable lifestyles. As a result, I can only imagine the sadness our Creator feels when observing environmentally harmful practices.
So what can we do? Just like the ladybugs and bees in our gardens, we can take care of the little space around us. Stop fertilizing and start composting. Stop planting grass and start planting food. Stop using insecticides and start growing flowers.
When I lead retreats that include creation care, I often begin by asking these questions:
What would you do if you could not go outside or didn’t have exposure to nature?
How would that impact you in mind, body and spirit?
It is interesting to watch people’s faces and bodies as they have that “aha” moment. We are so busy in our world that we often take creation for granted, expecting it to be there every day for us.
The only way that will be so is if we are there every day for creation.