One of God’s original mandates to humanity (Adam and Eve) was to care for and nurture creation. Since I believe that it is God’s intention to bring things full circle, meaning that He intends to bring things back to the way He originally intended them (perfect harmony/fellowship/communion in all three types of relationships: God:humanity, humanity:humanity, humanity:creation). As spiritually adopted children of God through belief in Christ and as citizens of the heavenly kingdom, it is important for us to demonstrate the qualities of our Heavenly Father and His kingdom here in this physical realm, one of which involves this original mandate.
This means that of all people, Christians should be concerned about caring for the environment and the earth, balancing the use of it to provide for our needs and the nurturing of it so that it continues to provide for those needs.
There are ways for churches to lead the way in this. First, as much as is possible, use ways that reduce the use of consumable resources. For example, how much paper is used when digital versions are available? I realize that not everyone has access to digital copies of those things that originally were done on paper, but for all those who do have this access, ways should be created for them to receive these things (like newsletters, mailings, worship bulletins) and they should be encouraged to use those ways rather than paper copies that are just thrown away.
Which leads me to a second corollary way: recycling. How much paper, from those newsletters, mailings, and worship bulletins, are not recycled? Up to just a couple of months ago, I, myself, was not recycling like I should. I am thankful that the city of Fort Dodge, due to some changes in the recycling system, made recycling easier to do. So, I have been doing much more recycling which is a way to care for the earth. I just saw a suggestion that a recycling bin could be put at the entrances of the sanctuary into which people could put their bulletins if they no longer want them and would, after taking them home, just throw them away in the trash.
And this leads me to give a “Shout Out” to First Baptist’s youth leader, Connie Johnson, and her group known as TBD (To Be Determined). Connie is very active within the caring for and nurture of the earth mandate from God. One of things that she and the youth would like to do is create a public space that is filled with fruit-bearing trees and other plants that produce different edible goodies. It would be public and open to anyone to come, free of charge, and pick good, healthy food for his/her family, because healthy food should be a right, not a privilege of only those who can afford to eat healthier.
Connie has already been in communication with our honorable mayor and he loves the idea. And there is a potential, very large space on the east bank of the Des Moines River that might be used just for this type of undertaking. It would definitely give an aspect to the Fort Dodge community that very, very few communities possess. And I find that exciting for our community.
How can you, as a child of the living God and Creator of this earth, carry out His mandate? Maybe it’s recycling; maybe it’s changing how you receive certain mailings like bank statements or bills; or maybe it’s a different way. Whatever it may be, I encourage you to consider different ways and then carry through on them.