Sermon: Am I the Garden [State’s] Keeper?
The other night I listened in to the Olympic coverage as our President reminisced with Bob Costas how he rode a bike around Beijing in 1975. That’s all there were, he said, there were no cars. Well, well, look what progress has brought Beijing now! Those aren’t clouds surrounding The Bird’s Nest—that’s smog! Did I say “progress?”
Contrast China with still densely populated Holland. To tell you how densely populated the Netherlands is, when Sita Hofstra came to Bridgewater, she thought us rural! The air is clean, though the landscape is dotted with wind turbines, for the Dutch have a national goal to produce 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.
In this Tale of Two Nations which one does the US, not to mention our Garden State, want to follow? To keep an air metaphor, I think it’s pretty clear. But how?
I hear the Spirit saying that depends upon how we relate to God’s creation.
There are two songs that we sing expressing our attitude toward God’s creation.
The first is: This world is not my home; I’m just a passin’ through. If heaven’s not my home; then Lord what will I do?… I can’t be at home in this world anymore.
That old gospel song may be the theme song of President Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior James Watt’s congressional testimony within which he is reported to have said:
After the last tree is felled Christ will come back.
So, don’t worry about this world’s smog because it’s the next world’s clouds that matter.
Since the Industrial Revolution the West has had a mostly till no keep view of our world. We’ve been all about chopping trees and paving cornfields. Development with little preservation. Biblically we stated that God gave us dominion over the earth; spelled do my opinion with this land! We believed this because eventually all believers will just be strumming harps on clouds in the most important world to come. This world? We’re just a passin’ through so let your SUV belch as much CO2 into the air as you want.
There’s another song that expresses a more biblical view toward God’s masterpiece
The trees of the field will clap their hands…while you go out with joy!
You shall go out with joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains and the hills will break forth before you.
There’ll be shouts of joy, and all the trees of the fields will clap, will clap their hands…
Notice how nature is clapping God’s praise. Trees have value! Of course this is a metaphor and not meant to be taken literally. But it’s a picture of how even the Poconos will participate in Jesus’ salvation. Because, in the end when Jesus comes, heaven will not be on puffy clouds up there, but on a renewed earth down here called: the new earth.
This lends itself to a till and keep view of the world. There is development /tilling because the Bible does begin in a Garden and end in a city. But there is also preservation/keeping the garden; like our hill dancing vision. So we exercise God’s dominion over worms not by crushing them underfoot, but by stepping around them for they add value since our preserved earth survives into the next life in the transformed New Earth.
I’ve asked environmental consultant Dave McGeown to tell us two things: 1) how God has given him influence on national environmental policy; and 2) at least one thing that we can do to care for the planet. Maybe besides the Dutch bike riding, wind turbines and Sita’s compost dish next to the sink. Leeuwarden recycles plastics/cans and compost.
Note: There was no audio recording of this service.