Generally, if someone asked me what I was doing forty-five years ago today I wouldn’t have a clue. If you were to ask me that today however I could answer your question. Forty-five years ago today I was participating in the first Earth Day activities. I distinctly remember getting to go outside with my fellow students at Lone Oak Middle School and pick up trash. Today I observed Earth Day a bit differently, I spent some time volunteering at a community garden.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will not be surprised to learn that I am a big fan of Earth Day. I got excited about it on the very first one forty-five years ago and my excitement has only increased over the years. I think it’s awesome that every April 22 people pause to remember what a wonderful planet it is we live on and how we all have a responsibility to take care of it. Of course, I’m one of those who thinks every day should be Earth Day but I realize that’s not realistic. Hopefully by observing Earth Day one day each year people will, in fact, begin to think more regularly about how they can better care for the earth.
I love Earth Day because it gives us all a chance to honor our Father and our Mother. By mother here I mean “Mother Earth.” I realize that there are some who believe it is pagan to refer to the earth in this way but I hardly believe that to be true. In so many ways the earth is our mother. According to the Scriptures we came from the earth. Genesis 2:7 says “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” The earth not only gave birth to us it has continued to nurse, nurture and sustain us. Here, too, the Bible speaks of the earth’s bounty and how our needs are met by its resources. Genesis 2 speaks about God placing trees on the earth that were both “pleasing to the eye and good for food.” (v. 9) It also mentions a “river watering the garden.” (v. 10) In more ways than most of us could begin to imagine the earth serves as our mother. Next month people will pause to honor their mothers on Mother’s Day. It seems only appropriate that on Earth Day we stop and give honor to Mother Earth.
Even more important to me, Earth Day gives us a chance to honor our Father, the Maker of heaven and earth. The Bible is clear in making the claim that the earth exists because God chose for it to exist. As Creator of the earth this world and all that it contains belongs to God. (Psalm 24:1) I like to think of Creation as God’s handiwork. When we pause on Earth Day to recognize the beauty and value of this planet we honor God. We affirm with God that the Creation is “good” and that God’s handiwork is something to be admired, treasured and protected. If we fail to do these things, whether it be Earth Day or not, we fail to honor God.
A major emphasis for Earth Day is caring for and protecting the earth. For God, this emphasis goes much further back than forty-five years; it goes back to the very beginning. God’s instructions for the first humans was to “work” the Garden “and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) When we stop and remember our call to be good stewards of the earth we, once again, honor our heavenly Father. We fulfill the purpose God gave us right from the start.
I hope you have had a good Earth Day. I also hope that if you haven’t already done so, before the day is over, you’ll find some way to honor your Father and Mother. Doing so will bring joy to the One who gave us this wonderful planet we call Earth.
(I took the pictures used here in Utah, Wyoming, Missouri and Maine.)