May 12 2013

Honoring Our Other Mother

_CES2183Today is Mother’s Day. I kind of have mixed emotions about the whole idea of Mother’s Day. For some it is a wonderful day, for others it is a sad time. Still, I am glad for the opportunity it gives me to express my love and gratitude to my mother. I truly was blessed with a great mother and she deserves all the love and appreciation I can give her today and every other day.

_CES3083The Bible repeatedly tells us to “honor your father and mother.”  This admonition even appears in the Ten Commandments.  (See Exodus 20:12)  Apparently God believes it is very important that respect be shown to one’s parents.  In the New Testament it is pointed out that this is the only Commandmant that has a promise attached to it.  The promise is “Then everything will be well with you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” (See Ephesians 6:2-3)  My suspicion is that this promise is not fulfilled automatically. Rather, if we have godly parents and show respect for them by listening to them and doing what they say, we will reap many benefits throughout our life.  This will likely cause us to live longer.  In other words, it pays to show one’s parents honor and respect.  That makes sense to me.

On this particular Mother’s Day I find myself wondering if there is not another mother that deserves honoring–Mother Earth.  Rob and I write regularly about the importance of caring for the earth and note that there are divine imperatives for doing so.  To many of us the Scriptures are clear on this.  Unfortunately, not all agree.  In recent days both a politician and a prominent minister have argued that we need not worry about the environment because Jesus is coming back soon.  The minister said that’s why he drove a SUV and joked that a man who drives a minivan is a mini-man.  Apparently some actually believe that since Jesus is coming back soon (something every generation since the apostle Paul has believed) there’s no need to worry about things like polluted water and air.

_CES4533It would seem that Mother Earth deserves more respect than that. Even more so, the God who created the earth deserves to have His handiwork honored and respected more.  It is, after all, His gift to us.  The earth is remarkable in so many different ways.  It is designed to sustain life but if mistreated it can lead to death instead.  Perhaps one reason God calls on us to care for the earth is so that we might all live healthy lives.  And like God’s commandment to honor our parents, it would seem obeying the command to “tend the garden” produces many benefits for both us and others.  Long life and environmental care go hand in hand.  To me this is secondary to the revelation of God through Creation but obviously still very important.  If we really want to affirm the importance, or even sanctity, of life then the earth must be honored and respected.  By failing to honor the earth we fail to love both God and humankind. 

On this Mother’s Day I hope we will strive not only to honor our mothers but also Mother Earth. Showing them our love and respect is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing.  In both instances they and we reap benefits from our actions.  That sounds like a win-win situation to me.

–Chuck

(I took the images shown above on a trip with Rob to northern California a couple of years ago.)