Apr 22 2015

Honoring your Father and Mother on Earth Day

_DSC7241Generally, 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.

WY Yellowstone NP Grand Prismatic SpringIf 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.

_DSC3064I 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.

ME Baxter SP streamEven 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.)

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.


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