Apr 22, 2012

Stewards of the Earth

I can only credit Tim Coltvet with what comes below. As a kid in elementary school, I remember Earth Day was a good day for us because we got to go outside and root around in nature—and this was fun—but also educational. On behalf of those who understand that we are caretakers of God’s good earth, I want to thank Tim Coltvet for his thoughtful and thought-provoking words.
“God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’” (Genesis 1:28).

Earth Day is today. Although this day is not acknowledged on any liturgical calendars, the fact of the matter is a lot of people in the church are talking about creation and our role as stewards of the earth. Pastor Kjell Ferris of Christ Lutheran Church in Blaine, Minn., and his wife Heidi are two such people. "Urban gardeners" might be another way of describing their commitment to being co-creators with God.

In a recent sermon focused on God's creation and our role as co-creators, Kjell said, "Human beings are created to subdue the earth. The word subdue helps us to understand that creation being good does not mean that the creation is perfect, in the sense of needing no further development or attention. The word subdue suggests bringing order out of disorder, drawing the world along to its fullest possible potential."

"Creation is not complete but is always changing; Human activity is crucial for the ongoing creation. God creates a dynamic world in which the future is open to a number of possibilities of which our activity is crucial. We are called not to passivity relative to the earth, but to genuine engagement, the nature of which will have significant implications for the future of God's environment."

As a pastor and a science teacher, respectively, Kjell and Heidi have convictions of faith and of science that fuel their joint passion for reclaiming sustainable living. They desire to educate future generations about the basics, which seem to be a long lost art. Namely, raising one's own food—both in their home residence in Minneapolis as well as at their faith community in Blaine, Minn.

As you approach Earth Day, consider some ways that your faith community might join others in caring for and learning more about God's marvelous creation. "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3-4).

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