Today the church remembers not a particular saint, but rather the Mother to us all: Earth Day.
The first Earth Day was held in 1970 with the rise of the environmental movement. As the Industrial Revolution quickly began taking its toll on the planet, humans began noticing some tangible changes in the way things looked, tasted, and smelled in the world…and it was not good. Though these changes smelled like prosperity to some, others knew it was a warning sign that the Earth was…is…dying, and that death was being accelerated by humans.
In those early days, pollution was the main focus of most Earth Day activities. And while that is still true today to some extent, we’ve now recognized global warming as the true danger to life on, and the life of, this planet.
In the opening lines of Genesis we find the Divine carefully crafting the earth, separating this from that, throwing birds in the air and playing ultimate “catch and release” with the fishes of the sea. The plants are coaxed from their ground, and humans are shaped out of the black soil. This poetic vision of the creation was not meant to be science…it was art. The art of the Divine being infused in every good thing that inhabits this planet.
And then, as the Creator rested, they charged humanity with tending all that had been made.
Earth Day is a reminder for me, and for the church, that this planet was not given to humans, but rather entrusted to them. In our efforts to thrive we’ve stumbled and sacrificed the lives of so many of our fellow creatures…remember: we’re all creation. And while we may not be able to stop global warming, we can slow it and shape it a bit.
Indeed: we are called to do that.
-icon “Cosmic Christ” written by Alex Grey