By Rev. Michelle Foster
Early one morning, I began preparing a sack lunch for my 4-year-old. This was different for us because he doesn't normally take his lunch to preschool. On this day, however, his class was celebrating Earth Day.
The class had big plans to picnic in the park, pick up some litter and make treasured creations from their trash. Previous experience has taught me that at least the next three days will be filled with conversations about pollution, recycling and the utter shame that comes with being a "litter bug." Our time will be consumed with picking up trash from every conceivable green space on earth and creatively re-using toilet paper and paper towel tubes, cereal boxes and milk jugs for all sorts of projects and toys.
The Bible begins with the story of creation. Over and over in Genesis 1 we find the words: "And God saw that it was good." Do you ever look at the earth and all the creatures that surround you and declare "this is good?" God created the trees, plants, animals, sun, moon and stars that we might enjoy them. They were created that humanity and all of creation might live together in harmony and peace.
As a faithful people of God we are called to carry the story forward. We are called to share the good news of God's proclamation over his creation, "It is good." How might you carry the story forward in your family, community and congregation? Here are a few suggestions:
• Plant a tree on the anniversary of a loved one's death
• Research and plant flowers that will attract butterflies or birds native to your area
• Begin aluminum recycling in your home or church (this is a great way to raise money for children and youth ministries)
• Plan a monthly clean-up day targeting specifics areas in your community
• Find a place to make a garden (floral or vegetable)
• Take a trip to a farm or the zoo
• Start a composting pile or bin in your backyard
• Reuse your plastic bags from the grocery store
• Have church outside one Sunday
• Enjoy God's creation – play, picnic, star watch, take a walk, ride your bike
• Tell the story of creation
• Live like you know and believe the story of creation
Though Earth Day is only one day a year, God's good news and creative energy is available to us and surrounds us each day of our lives. How will you celebrate the gift of creation and the beauty of the earth today? Why not start by offering a prayer of thanksgiving.
Foster serves on the conference staff working with Safe Sanctuaries and Family Ministries.