Another Form of Prayer

UPM-leaf-on-paper-birch-201I am currently reading Rick Bass’ newest book, The Wild Marsh.  A couple of nights ago I came across a passage that has intrigued me.  Rick writes of his religious neighbors lack of understanding of his environmental concerns.  He says, “They counsel me that with eternity at stake in the unending afterlife, there is little point or economy in getting so fretted up about clearcuts when our mortal time here is so temporal and the earth is but a proving ground for the far greater and lasting struggle of our souls, our eternal salvation.”  It is Bass’ response that has intrigued me. He writes, “But someone…puts the spark and light of peace and joy and worship and awe in my heart when I am far back in the distant mountains, so close to the sky and a scale of time greater than my own brief stay, and that spark tells me that for me, activism is a form of prayer, a way of paying back some small fraction of the blessing that the wilderness is to me, a way of celebrating and protecting that creation, and a way of giving thanks.” 

I love the concept of environmental activism being a form of prayer.  I had never thought of it in that way before but it makes sense.  Standing up for God’s Creation truly is “a way of giving thanks” and, for me, giving thanks is one of the purest and most honorable forms of prayer.  In what God has created we find much to be grateful for.  Bass is right; wilderness is a true blessing and something worth celebrating and protecting.  I just wish more Christians realized this.   

Perhaps if we would come to accept Rick’s concept of activism as a form of prayer more of us would take the time to write letters to members of Congress, support groups working to preserve God’s Creation, or make an extra effort to practice the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.  It might even give us yet another way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  Regardless, it is important that we realize that even with eternity in view caring for God’s Creation here and now is critical and a part of our Christian responsibility.

 –Chuck 

(The picture above of a maple leaf reposing on a white paper birch was taken at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore last month.)