There’s a coffee shop that I visit in Lincoln to write sermons. I go there because pretty much no one knows me there and so when I need to get things done, I can go there. Plus, the internet can be a wormhole of lost time – and so when I go there I leave my laptop at home. But that’s not the point of this story. In this coffee shop, there on the wall, is a poster that says, “We do not inherit the world from our parents. We keep it in trust for our children.”
I must look at this poster three or four times every time that I go into this little shop. I mean it is right there and I am attention-wandering enough to read it every time. And today, on Earth day I am reminded the truth of that poster. We are keepers of the earth – and not just for our kids, but also for our God who created it all.
When we look to our creation stories we see that God created all of it to be good, and that God appointed human kind to be its caretakers. We are stewards of the Garden of Eden (and then the whole of creation after we got the boot). The whole earth is for our kids – it is also for all of the rest of God’s creation that exists on this green earth.
And while we don’t often talk about it, all of creation (and the way we care for it) matters to God. St. Paul writes Romans about how all of creation looks forward to Christ’s second coming because all of the earth is in need of redeeming. God cares treasurers the earth enough to redeem it also with God saving grace – so much so that the earth yearns for that day of redemption from its very core. These are his words from Romans 8:
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor 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. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
The earth is important to God and God has given us the task of caring for it – even as we await the day when Christ comes again to redeem us alongside the rest of the earth and all of creation. And so this week we get to remember that we are called to be caretakers of the earth! So if you recycle, keep on at it. If you use food that avoids a heap ton of plastic wrappings, way to go. If you have low flow toilets, you are rocking it out. So turn off the water as you brush your teeth, set a timer for your showers, and do all you can to care for God’s green earth – because it belongs to our children, and it also belongs to God.