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We are in the season of Easter, the season of new possibilities, the season of new beginnings, new life.  And we are also in the season of Spring, the season when we observe new life all around us: the blooming of flowers, the sprouting of leaves, the buzz of insects, the scurrying of squirrels, and the singing of birds.  As I reflect on these seasons, I cannot help but think of a day coming up on April 22nd (one day from now as I type this reflection) that special day, ‘Earth Day’.

Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement.  The first Earth day took place 52 years ago in the United States.  In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles.  Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of consequences from either law or bad press.  Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity.  Most people were oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health.  However, the stage was set for change with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962 which raised awareness and concern for the inextricable link between pollution and human health, and the health of other living organisms.  Earth Day 1970 would come to provide a voice to this emerging environmental consciousness.  

Today, Earth Day, is recognized in over 200 countries.  And environmental concerns, especially the impact of climate change are no longer peripheral concerns, but are, or should be, among the primary concerns of governments and citizens the world over.  Certainly, for Christians, this must be the case.  First of all, we believe all life on this planet derives from the creative power of God.  “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it" (Psalm 24:1)   We dishonour God when we treat the creation in such a way as to cause it harm.      

"Be fruitful and multiply.  Fill the earth and govern it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry around the ground.”  (Genesis 1:28)  Sadly, we have taken these words and used them to justify doing whatever we want with God’s creation.   

In order to satiate the appetite of our society to have more and more, and have it cheaper and faster, we greedily use up precious natural resources, fill the air, water, and soil with dangerous toxic chemicals, raise animals, often in cruel and harmful ways, generate global warming with cataclysmic consequences.    

I much prefer the words in Genesis 2:13: “God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it.” We are to be ‘stewards’ of God’s good earth.  We are not to ‘rule’ the created order as we would want to rule; we are to rule as God would have us rule, with care, love, kindness, and to ensure a healthy future for the natural world and thus for the human beings who benefit so richly from God’s good creation. 

Finally, I recall Jesus’ instructions that we are to ‘love our neighbour as ourselves.’  I would extend the ‘neighbour’ to our children, grandchildren and to all the human beings yet to be born.  I want those children and future children to have an earth that is still inhabitable, one in which they can enjoy good health, bountiful food and fresh water, and the wonders of creation.     

The Easter and Spring seasons are about new possibilities, new beginnings, new life.  And we are to be Easter people. We are to be bearers of such life to the world.  Let us do our part to make this happen, not only by the personal choices we make each day, but in using our rights and powers within a free, democratic society to elect governments and pressure business and industry to make the urgent changes necessary. 

Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”  (John 10:10)  May we be faithful followers of Jesus doing our part to help this ‘abundant life’ grow and blossom for the world.  

Rev. Bob

Resources Used:  

Celebrating Earth Day:   A Christian Perspective on Stewardship of the Environmentl – Keeper of the Home,  

The History of Earth Day In