Feb 27 2011

Creation and Relationships

OR-Barr-Falls-039This weekend I have been reading a book my wife gave me for Valentine’s Day.  It’s called Care For Creation [a franciscan spirituality of the earth].  Here I was reminded that the Greek word upon which the word “ecology” is based is oikos, which means house.  Thus, ecology literally means “study of the house.”  The book’s authors believe that it is important for us to view the world we live in as  our home, but not ours only;  it is first and foremost God’s home. 

One of the implications of viewing the earth as our home is made clear in the following passage: “To speak of creation as our home is to speak of creation as relationship.  The word creation implies relationship, unlike the word nature, which holds no inherent religious meaning.  ‘Creation’ points to a ‘Creator,’ a God who creates.”  They go on to say, “’Creation,’ therefore, means relationships between the human and nonhuman created order, the place of the human person within that order, and the response of the person to the created order in its relationship to God.”

Chipmunk-2I think this emphasis on Creation and relationships is important and worthy of our consideration.  As Christians we know that all of our relationships are supposed to be characterized by love.  We may not normally think of being “in relationship” with the earth or its creatures but we are.  It’s how God has designed His Creation.  Of course the greatest relationship Creation calls for is a relationship with the Creator Himself but all of these are interconnected.

Loving the “house” God has given us is an important part of our spiritual journey.  Failure to do so is dangerous in many ways.  At one point the authors of Care For Creation ask “If ‘home is where the heart is’ then why is our home—the Earth—in peril?”  The answer seems obvious.  Many people today are failing to love God’s precious gift.  They are failing to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with Creation.  In the e-mails Rob Sheppard sends me he has a quote that always appears at the bottom of the page.  It begins with these words: “In the end we will conserve only what we love.”  It would seem to me that it is well past time that as Christians we made sure that “home is where the heart is.”  For God’s sake, for the earth’s sake, and for our own spiritual and physical well-being we must nurture and maintain a healthy relationship with our home.

–Chuck

(I took these two images on a trip to Oregon. The top picture was taken at Barr Falls and the bottom is a western chipmunk.)