LETTER FROM THE PASTOR
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
God has called us who bear God’s image to be faithful stewards over God’s creation. God’s will for humanity is for us to be faithful managers in taking care of something that does not belong to us but has been entrusted to us. God created the earth and everything that God made is good and should be used for the benefit of all humanity. Anything else would be an injustice and a misuse of the resources God has placed in our care.
This conviction brings to the forefront the intersectionality of social and environmental justice. Both of these realities are near to the heart of God and are linked to one another for the sustainability of human flourishing. God informs humanity in Genesis 1:26-31 that not only are we created in the image of God but that all of creation should be our ultimate concern. Thusly, God delegated us to care for creation in a way the honors God. From the trees that bear fruit, the leaves and the herbs of the ground, to the beast of both land and sea, God declared its goodness and requires us to treat it as such.
If we be good to the earth, the earth will be good to us. From it we get nourishment and medicinal benefits that enable us to live healthy and whole lives. It is clear that God gave us the entirety of creation to use for our betterment, not for our pleasures only. Using creation for personal pleasures leads to things such as greed, pollution, contamination and obesity. Injustices begin when we use things for temporal pleasures with no regard of the future effect it will have on our environment and generations yet unborn.
Jesus marries social and environmental justice in Matthew 25 when he speaks on feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty. The issue of quality food and clean water becomes a generational crisis and a question of environmental equity. Being responsible citizens of the earth requires we be good generational neighbors to ensure that the earth is inhabitable to all. The scripture speaks of leaving an inheritance to our children’s children, and what better inheritance can we leave than a legacy of care and concern for our shared spaces that enables them to live happy, healthy and whole lives. Going outside should be a safe and even a scenic experience no matter the social or economic status of the community.
So, faith communities across racial and social lines should be concerned about how we treat the earth because how we treat the earth says a lot about how much we value one another.
Pastor Timothy D. Careathers