Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Being Earthy

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your descendants and your name remain. Isaiah 66:22

Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and as I look around the room I’m sitting in right now, all the components I’ve been assembling for “A Spirited Gathering Honoring God and Creation” at beautiful Tuscora Park are right in front of me. There’s a stack of song sheets printed on recycled paper (30% post-consumer fiber), packets of flower and vegetable seeds we’ll be planting in little pots made from an accumulated pile of old newspapers, a poster featuring that iconic photo of the earth taken from Apollo 17 back in 1972, and an amazingly clear and detailed version of the globe reproduced on a beach ball.

The focus of Earth Day has been upon environmental awareness and activism since it was established in 1970 under the leadership of Senator Gaylord Nelson from my home state of Wisconsin. I was six years old and coming close to the end of first grade on that first Earth Day. I remember making a collage from wildlife pictures torn from Ranger Rick Magazine. My class may have planted a tree.

Forty years later, I’m pleased that Earth Day is still around, and that there is a strong emphasis on environmental responsibility in our society right now. I don’t have to harp on you to recycle, to “go green” or to work on reducing your carbon footprint because it’s all the rage. The message is everywhere!

But while bringing renewal to our planet is a current trend and popular cause, the invitation for human beings to do the right thing by the environment is hardly a new crusade or a passing fad. Stewardship of the earth has been a priority of God-honoring people since. . . well, since Genesis was first spoken aloud and passed from one generation to the next. As the story goes, God conversed with Adam when the world was fresh and new, telling him that it was his responsibility to tend it, guard it, keep it.

Isaiah 65 and 66 speak longingly and dreamily of a time when there will be a new heaven, a new earth. But those passages don’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the original Earth. The problem, per usual, is that the people living on the planet are sometimes rotten. Isaiah looks forward to a time when people finally pay attention to God’s intentions, when they live in harmony without trying to get ahead by exploiting anything or anyone. When that happens, it will be LIKE having a whole new earth because it will be so wonderful.

Earth IS wonderful. Let’s keep it that way, not only because there’s a governmental proclamation instructing us to do so, but because we are inspired by God’s phenomenal project called Creation.

P.S. If you're anywhere near New Philadelphia, Ohio tomorrow, April 22, please join us for "A Spirited Gathering Honoring God and Creation" at Tuscora Park beginning at 6:00PM. Contact me if you need directions or more information. It will be wonderful, and I'll let you play with the really cool Earth beach ball.


  1. Hi Christine,
    Thanks for your thoughts so well expressed here. And thanks, too, for the Ranger Rick mention. We are still going strong at the magazine, all these years later. We really appreciate being mentioned in the blogosphere. It helps us feel as though all our hard work has paid off, and we love it that our magazine leaves a lasting impression on our readers!

    Happy (Belated) Earth Day to you!

    With warmest wishes to you,
    Libby Schleichert, Sr. Editor
    Ranger Rick Magazine
    National Wildlife Federation
    Reston, Virginia
    Follow me on Twitter: @epschleichert

  2. Libby--What a surprise to hear from the editor of my first ever favorite magazine! My grandparents gave me a subscription to Ranger Rick when I was a girl, and I could hardly wait for it to arrive each month! It's great to hear that your publication is bringing joy and good lessons to youngsters.