There are a lot of big ideas out there about what we can do to celebrate Earth Day, ideas about how to get involved in the grand movements we need to pull our world back from the brink of self-destruction. Please don’t neglect the big picture! But as I reflected on this, I wondered what it would look like to make a list of Earth Day practices for the neighborhood. Here’s a short list of what I came up with – please share your ideas in the comments section on my blog. This list begins with the things I’ve done (1-5) and moves toward the things I hope to put into practice by the end of the year (6-10) – remember, stewarding God’s creation is a lifestyle, not a one-off event.
Over the years I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to fit into spiritual boxes created by well-meaning folks who didn’t really know me. We all have a kind of spiritual temperament, a natural rhythm and style that works well with how we were created. Morning devotions may be perfect for one person but a complete failure for another. Journaling might unleash deep spiritual insights for some, gardening for others, and long periods of deep meditation for still others. All of these are tools intended to deepen our relationship with God and one another, but they are not the purpose of our faith.
Many of us are “really nice people”, but too many of us, at least in the United States, have lost the art of true hospitality. We’ve become accustomed to returning home, driving into the garage, and walking into the house. When we do venture outside more often than not it’s into the backyard or back to the car to run a quick errand.
When I go into my backyard sanctuary I carry with me the joys and concerns encountered in the world around me. I am not cut off from them but actually, become more aware of their impact on my life and my interconnectedness with all that buzzes in and around my world. When I plunge my hands into the earth I’m reminded of my connectedness to all creation. God formed me from the richness of the soil and breathed life into me. Like all creation, I am alive and sustained only by the grace of God.