“And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:10b
In this story of creation from Genesis, we repeatedly read “And God saw that it was good.” God’s creation was and still is good, in spite of human mismanagement and abuse of our resources. Creation is never a “done deal.” It is an ongoing process which includes order and chaos. Think of the paradox that is, but the creative process in anything is both order and chaos, if we really admit it. Creation wasn’t just something that happened overnight with a snap of God’s fingers; rather, it happened over the course of many years and continues today.
We see the effects of the continuing creation in weather patterns, erosion, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and a variety of other natural happenings. About five years ago, the White Mountains in New Hampshire went through the lost of a natural formation they called “The Old Man of the Mountain.” A rock formation jutted out, and when folks would drive by, they would see what looked like an old man’s face hanging straight out from the side of one of the mountains. Tourists would stop to take pictures, and it was quite a phenomenon.
But weather, wind, erosion, and gravity had done its work on the old man, and he was threatening to crumble. After much talk about how to keep it from happening, the good people of New Hampshire decided to just let nature take its course and appreciate that they had enjoyed the old man for many years. They could have worked on it feverishly, spent thousands of dollars, and supported it with some kind of framework to hold it together, but they chose to keep the beauty of the area without the old man’s face.
In many ways, creation is like that. Sometimes we just have to accept that even in the order of creation, there is something that isn’t going to turn out the way we want it to, but it still is good. God saw that creation was good. God saw that humanity was good, and God embraced both the order and the chaos. It’s a part of our lives. A painter or sculptor may step back to look at his or her creation and either think it is good or start all over again. In our every day living, we have times when there is order and direction and times when we have chaos and confusion. We will inevitably have both. Maybe that is why so many people resist change.
But change comes with creation, and it can’t be avoided. Our awareness of the resources we have on planet earth and how we care for them will depend on our perspective. Those who see having the resources as a right will not take care of them very well, and those who see them as a privilege and recognize that they are part of the created order with a responsibility to care for the earth will do the work to preserve the earth.
One of my Bible study groups in a previous church asked me if I was recycling. When I said that I hadn’t gotten around to it, they chided me to get started, and they checked with me to see if I was following through. Interestingly, once I started, I was hooked and I do my best to recycle as much as I can. I’m still not doing it perfectly, but I’m doing as much as I can. It’s a work in progress!
The month of September, the two churches I serve will be celebrating the Season of Creation where we will focus on some aspect of our beautiful earthly home. During this time, I hope to increase my stewardship of creation through all the resources: nature, human, and animal as I seek to be a better steward of God’s gifts to us. I hope you will begin the journey, too. God bless.