When I plan our worship services, I try my best to be sensitive to the “special” Sundays that are on the church calendar. Some are the biggest days of the year: Christmas, Easter, Pentecost; others are a little more obscure – did you know that the fourth Sunday of Easter is called the “Good Shepherd” Sunday? Then there are the non-church occasions that should be marked, too, days like Mother’s Day and Remembrance Day.
They are all important, but I have found that it isn’t possible to celebrate each one in each year. Unfortunately, this year Earth Sunday fell on Easter Sunday and we missed our service dedicated to the environment. I am grateful that Mary Anna Williams and her team held an evening on April 23 to discuss food waste and the impact on the environment.
As I write this, there are disastrous floods in several Canadian provinces and wildfires in BC and Saskatchewan. As governments around the world continue to scale back environmental protections, it’s important for us to realize that this is a vitally important spiritual issue.
Many Christians ignore environmental issues because they don’t see it as an important faith-related concern — but in many ways, taking care of our environment
is a direct expression of our faith, although many of us have yet to realize — and some even reject — this truth.
Theologians have often argued that the splendor and wonder of creation is observable proof of God and God’s awe-inspiring power. But what happens when it’s
not visible? What are the spiritual ramifications of destroying our world?
Many of us love nature and have access to the outdoors, scenic parks, and unpolluted land. We find God in scenes of picturesque mountain ranges, pristine lakes and rivers, beautiful wild animals, and lovely plants. But, for others, the idea of God in nature is absurd and often a theological idea that actually argues
against the existence of a God.
Because when water is too unsafe to drink, air too toxic to breathe, and the sheer decay of the surrounding environment endangers you and your family — how is God glorified? When the natural physical existence around you is taken away, broken, or heading toward death instead of life, how does this possibly point people to God?
The sad reality is that the thought of God revealed in nature doesn’t really exist for millions of people living in conditions where their environment is being exploited for corporate and political gain. Which is why creation care and environmentalism is so important. Because if you really believe that the earth reflects God’s glory, by not taking care of it and allowing it to become corrupted — you’re essentially keeping people from experiencing the goodness of God.
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
The Bible says that the skies declare God’s craftsmanship, but what happens when people can’t see the sky due to smog and waste?
Pollution, destruction, and the exploitation of our world isn’t a victimless crime — it’s intentionally hiding God from others, and the act of making our earth less desirable is blinding others to the goodness of God.
If we seriously want others to experience God, we should start making the earth a better place — ultimately reflecting the magnificence of God.