Read: Joel 2:21-22
Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
Often when we hear news of ecological degradation of our planet or read the statistics about global warming or overconsumption, we become paralyzed. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to deal with such massive problems?” There’s a story of a person who was in a state of despair because of feeling so overwhelmed. He cried out to God, “Dear Lord, our problems are so enormous, why won’t you send us help?” God replied, “I did. I sent you.”
In our baptism we are commissioned to be agents of God’s restoring all creation to right relation. Moreover, as the prophet Joel promises us, God is making and will make the world right.
God’s invitation to all those who love the Lord is to participate in the renewal of the earth. Because we cannot do everything, it is important that we do the next thing.
What if you are the one God has called to begin restoring the earth? What if the Lord is waiting for you to begin by making a change where you live or work or go to school?
In his book The Star Thrower, Loren Eiseley writes of a boy who found starfish scattered on the beach after a storm. He began throwing them one by one into the ocean. When someone told him, “You can’t save them all, so why bother trying? Why does it matter anyway?” The boy took a starfish in his hand and answered, “Well it matters to this one.” And he flung the starfish into the welcoming sea.
What is the one thing you can do today to lessen your consumption in order to bring this world one step closer to God’s promises?
Almighty God, in giving us dominion over your things on earth, you made us fellow 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.
(The Book of Common Prayer, p. 827)
Porter Taylor serves as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.