I was very encouraged to read the article “Is God green?” by Pastor Nelson a couple of months ago. My own graduate studies on the topic of “Christianity and Environmental Ethics” lead me to the realization that conservative Christian denominations such as the LCMS have fallen behind in the way of supporting care for creation compared to some of the more liberal denominations. Christians are sometimes discouraged from putting too much value on creation for fear of “worshipping nature”. Many falsely assume that humans have no impact on global warming, using up non-renewable resources or causing species to go extinct.
Caring for God’s creation is part of the Christian life and teaching. We as Lutherans have a great opportunity to embrace this. The Lutheran church has maintained many Biblical truths which other denomination have compromised. Let us not compromise this one. The writings of Martin Luther provide support for creation care.
Question number 112 under “God Still Takes Care of Me and All Creatures,” of Luther’s Small Catechism asks, “What do we owe our heavenly Father for all His goodness?” The second answer is, “be good stewards of His creation.” And Genesis 2:15 is cited, which reads, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” It is then noted that, “We are good stewards when we avoid polluting air, land, and water; carefully dispose of waste; use rather than waste natural resources; conserve rather than waste energy; recycle or reuse materials whenever possible; and value and take care of all God’s creation.”
There are many ways these teachings can impact our every day lives. We can maintain our homes and gardens without using toxic chemicals that pollute land and water. We can also grow some of our own food or support local food producers so our food doesn’t travel as far to get to us. We can use alternative forms of transportation such as walking, biking, carpooling or taking the bus. And there are many other ways we can all think of. Not only do these activities display stewardship, they can make us healthier as well.
Do we see how God provides for us through His creation? Do we see how having compassion on others means selfless respect for the resources on which we all depend? God is the creator of all. He has given us blessing and privilege and along with it – responsibility. We as Lutheran Christians have an opportunity to think, speak, and act carefully towards God’s creation in all forms. This will be due to the compassion we have for others which has resulted from God’s gift of faith to us.
It is my sincere prayer that we are moved to serve God and give thanks to Him in this way. And even more, that when we fail to put Him and others before ourselves, we are comforted by the resource that never runs out – His forgiveness.
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