Jul 24 2013

“Fellowship Workers”

_CES2096I recently came upon a prayer found in the Book of Common Prayer that should be of interest to those who are concerned about being good stewards of Creation.  It is a short prayer that might be said on a regular basis.  It reads, “Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellowship workers in your creation.   Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

WC3850There are several things I like about this prayer.  One of the great things about it is that it reminds us of the true meaning of the word “dominion.”  The biblical call found in Genesis 1:28 for humans to have dominion over the earth has certainly been misunderstood by many over the centuries.  This misunderstanding has led to the horrible abuse of God’s Creation in many instances.  In the prayer found above we catch a glimpse of the true meaning of dominion; it involves our being “fellowship workers” in God’s Creation.  Our calling is to work with and in Creation for its good.  When we do this together the Creation becomes a better place for us and for those who will come after us.

killdeer-eggsAnother thing I like about this prayer is the recognition that we need “wisdom and reverence” to do what we are supposed to do.  We need wisdom because it is not always clear exactly what we should do or how.  We are called to be caretakers of God’s Creation but at times we need the Creator’s help in knowing how best to take care of what He has made.  We also must do our work with an attitude of reverence.  We revere the One who has called us to serve in His Garden and we must also show reverence for the work of His hands.  If we fail to do either of these things we will likely fail in our fundamental calling to tend to the earth.  Reverence for both God and Creation are essential.  This prayer helps us to remember this.

HS3651Finally, I like this prayer because it serves as a reminder that our actions have consequences.  If we do not seek God’s wisdom and live in reverence of the Creator and the Creation we may very well abuse the resources of nature.  We will be more likely to cause harm where we are supposed to be bringing help and healing.  This abuse and harm, as we have clearly learned, comes back to bite us.  The earth alone does not suffer when we abuse it, so do we.  Furthermore, it is not just we who live today that are affected by this abuse but also those who will follow us.  As “fellowship workers” we have to be concerned about more than just ourselves.  We must tend to the earth in such a way that there will be plenty of resources left for the generations still to come–resources that will not only sustain and nurture them but lead them to worship and praise the Giver of all good gifts.

For a short prayer, this gem from the Book of Common Prayer, has a lot of important reminders for us.  For that reason I encourage you to become familiar with it and to use it on a regular basis as part of your prayer regimen.  It can’t hurt and it has the potential to do a world (and the world) a lot of good.

–Chuck

(I took the top image at Cumberland Island National Seashore, the second image at Custer State Park, the third image of killdeer eggs at Indian Mountain State Park, and the bottom image at Henderson Sloughs Wildlife Management Area.)