Environmental Stewardship

Nature Is Our Gift From God To Help Keep Us Positive


The Greatness of God

Tell the heavens and the earth to be glad and celebrate! Command the ocean to roar with all of its creatures and the fields to rejoice with all of their crops. Then every tree in the forest will sing joyful songs to the Lord… Psalm 96:11-13 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Connect with Nature

…Communing with nature is also an excellent way to unlock your creativity and generate new ideas. Newton formulated the laws of gravity while relaxing under an apple tree. Likewise Swiss designer George de Mestral developed Velcro after examining the burdock burrs that cling to his dog while he hiked in the mountains. Natural surroundings serve to stifle the endless chatter that fills our minds so that our true brilliance can be liberated. And while you spend time enjoying nature, observe your surroundings with deep concentration. Study the complexity of a flower or the way the current moves in a sparkling stream. Take your shoes off and feel the grass under your feet. Give silent thanks that you have the privilege of enjoying these special gifts of nature. Many people do not.**

As Mahatma Gandhi observed, “When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.”

 **from book “Who Will Cry When You Die” by Robin S. Sharma, chapter 45


Jesus Christ Redeems All Creation by Rev. Peter Sawtell

(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:15-20

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from it’s bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:18-23

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son … John 3:16

Tell the heavens and the earth to be glad and celebrate! Command the ocean to roar with all of its creatures and the fields to rejoice with all of their crops. Then every tree in the forest will sing joyful songs to the Lord… Psalm 96:11-13 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

What does Jesus have to do with Creation?

After teaching that God is the universe’s Creator, Christianity proclaims Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer.  In regards to the environment, this begs a key question.  What does Christianity teach about the relationship between Jesus and the earth?  Is his saving power limited only to human beings?  Or does it extend wider to embrace all of Creation?

Jesus’ salvation is bigger than that, because it encompasses all the earth and beyond.

The Biblical witness is clear.  Yes – Jesus is our Redeemer, the one who makes us whole.  And, Jesus’ salvation is bigger than that, because it encompasses all the earth and beyond.  John 3:16 – one of the most famous New Testament passages – makes it clear.  The Greek word used for “world” in the phrase “For God so loved the world” is the word “kosmos.” Kosmos means “universe,” the “created order, everything that is.  Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the kosmos, of absolutely everything that is and was and ever will be.  The passage from Colossians above also makes this point clear.  Jesus is the Savior, the Redeemer, of “all things” – not just human beings.

The passage from Romans extends this teaching further in an important way.  This passage describes Creation as yearning for its final redemption in Christ, just as people yearn for ours.  Not only does this passage affirm that Jesus saves and redeems all of Creation – it also recognizes that Creation is a “work in progress”, just like people.  There are some Christians who are concerned that protecting the environment amounts to “worshipping Creation.”  This Romans passage – by affirming Jesus as the universe’s Savior and the universe as “groaning” in anticipation of its redemption – puts those fears to rest.

In addition to recognizing Jesus as Creation’s savior, there’s another important New Testament theme about Jesus’ relationship to the environment.  The New Testament makes it clear that for Jesus, Creation is a place of closeness to God and of spiritual revelation.  Numerous times, he goes into the wilderness to pray – whether wrestling with Satan as his ministry begins (Matthew 4:1) or seeking clarity and refreshment as the multitudes pressed in on him for help (Luke 5:16).  To deliver his central teaching, he takes his disciples apart from the crowd for the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1).  And it’s on another mountain that the Transfiguration takes place, when Jesus is revealed to his disciples as the Messiah (Matthew 17: 1-9).  There’s no denying that for Jesus – as for many people – the natural world is a place where God is revealed.

The New Testament makes it clear that for Jesus, Creation is a place of closeness to God and of spiritual revelation.

It’s important to recognize that Jesus’ closeness with Creation goes hand in hand with his redemption of Creation – just as his closeness with people goes hand in hand with their redemption, too.

The same is true about Jesus’ relationship with Creation.  Jesus spends time in Creation.  He values it as the place where he goes to commune with God.  He chooses it as the place where he reveals the most important things to his closest friends.  This closeness with Creation, and this respect for its importance, is the reason Jesus saves and redeems it.  Jesus’ redemption reflects a loving relationship – with people, and with the entire universe.


 

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