My grandmother could make anything grow, anything to which she turned her attention. In central Alabama she grew pomegranates, ornamental bananas, and saguaro cactus, not to mention dozens of other things. She owned a professional greenhouse and was the person to call to ask how things grew.
I’m the guy with strange vines growing up the side of the house and dead ferns in pots. People offer to give us plants all the time. We refuse, knowing that either my wife or I will kill it.
Why? Honestly it is likely apathy. We like the idea of plants, but there are so many other things that pull our attention we just cannot be bothered to put for the effort needed to care for anything like that.
Here cometh the lesson.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. ” Genesis 2:15
A bit of a preview of the September 8th sermon.
Ignoring for the moment all of the possible issues in Genesis 2 let us focus on this simple theological statement: humans were intended to care for the natural world.
Do I think God cares that much about the deplorable state of my yard? No, but the issues there writ large plague our planet.
There are fires in the Amazon that, if transposed to North America, would cover everything in the US east of the Mississippi River. You have heard that. Did you also know that the savannas of Africa and the forests of Siberia were on fire? What was once a glacier that covered 7 square miles in Iceland is gone?
Don’t bring politics into this either. All we need to know is that some man made actions lead to bad things. Toxic dumping is killing thousands of fish in rivers all over the country, not to mention poising water supplies for both animals and people. There is a 7,829 square mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico caused by run off from human agricultural activities, most from industrial farming. There are seas of garbage in the Pacific. Microplastics are found even in the deepest parts of the ocean.
Long term we can point to direct cause and effect of human activity on our environment. It happens in our own yards and parks, it happens on larger scales as well.
For Christians this is not a political issue. This is not a scientific issue. This is a theological issue. A question of morality.
Have we failed as a species to live up to the task God gave us in Genesis? Do we as individuals fail? What can be done about it?
Things can be done, by the way. It is just going to mean taking our roles seriously. Taking responsibility for our actions. Sacrificing and doing the job.
Not because a politician said so.
Not because a scientist said so.
Because God said so.