Saturday, April 24, 2021

Earth Day 2021

Earth Day 2021 collage
Prayer: Psalm 23

God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

The Message (MSG) Copyright 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Romans 8:18-22

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the children of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of the One who subjected it in hope; 21because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. NKJV

Earth Day #51

Easter is 50 Days, a week of weeks. We're close to the halfway mark on this Fourth Sunday and 22nd Day of Easter. Though we still can greet everyone with "Christ is Risen – Happy Easter!" the church's year of grace begins to ease toward the Day of Pentecost that initiates the half-year long, sometimes surprising Season of Pentecost, Time of the Church. With April being Earth Month, this being Earth Week and Earth Day only last Thursday, how better to celebrate the New Creation of Easter than with Earth Sunday? What better juxtaposition than Psalm 23 with its natural – not exclusively rural at all – word pictures and reassurance of God as our shepherd who knows us, who always has our back, who goes before us everywhere and waits for our arrival?

I've designed for Earth Day every year for a long time. Results have ranged from a First Place Blue Ribbon at the County Fair to fair to middling. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors—we borrow it from our children was the theme on one of my four pieces for Earth Day 2010 and it seemed exactly right for 2021. The header image for this blog post is one of several variations of this year's design.

Our Divine Image
Genesis 1:26-27

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself … and every animal that moves on the face of Earth."
God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God's nature. …

Genesis 2:15-17

God took the Human and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order.
God commanded the Human, "You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don't eat from it. …

Scriptures from The Message

Humanity's Image of God or Imago Dei we read about in Genesis is an often-discussed theological concept. It has been described as our relationships, with the inter-relatedness of the Trinity as ideal. In addition, a person who bears God's image would posses divine attributes of love, mercy, and justice as Jesus demonstrated. Stewardship of creation we find in both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? Of course! And more! United Methodist Bishop Will Willimon recently claimed speech is a huge aspect our divine image. Scripture reveals the word of God as both speech and action. God's word creates. It restores and heals. God speaks words of challenge, of resurrection, of new life, of new creation. We refer to the Ten Commandments of the Sinai Covenant as Ten Words because scripture tells us "God spoke these words" to guide us in our common life where those words become actions. We've discussed signs and symbols that point toward something other than themselves; we're familiar with logos in branding for products and organizations. The gospel of John tells us Jesus is the Logos or Word of God; although John's theology tells us Jesus pre-existed with God the Father, Jesus is the result of God speaking. (It gets very complicated and I don't want to summon the heresy brigade…)

We humans speak with far more than languages like English, German, and Spanglish. Physical postures and gestures talk "body language." Whether from our own choices or defaults resulting from actions of others, our homes, professions, clothing, and food send messages. Etc.

Restore Our Earth

"Restore Our Earth" is this year's official Earth Day theme. In Romans 8:19, "…creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the children of God," the apostle Paul assures us when we claim the fullness of our divine nature and image (love, justice, engaging speech that's active in love), especially in this Earth Month – Week – Day, we'll help restore, revitalize, and resurrect aspects of creation that are less than fully alive.

God's Word is both speech and action. Especially people outside the church sometimes inspect our lives to determine whether or not we walk the talk. When we claim our divine image, our speech and action reflect each other and we do walk the talk. We'll help Restore Our Earth because We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors—we borrow is from our children.

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