As a child, my father thought it imperative, that my brothers and I learned about nature. We would watch nature programs together as a family and my father taught us about food chains, the birth of animals, and the power of nature. We would observe how our cats would stalk birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits and when I would cry when our cats killed something my father would say, “That’s how nature works. It keeps the population of those animals in check and the cats and meat eating animals need the food to live”. It occurs to me now that God designed our planet, our world to be interdependent. Everything needs something else to live and thrive. If something is even a little out of wack then it reverberates through so many different species. It has lasting and devastating effects.
In nature, we see that plants need bees, butterflies, and birds to help propagate the next generation of flowers. The bees and other pollinators need the flowers to provide them with food to live and make the next generation of their species. The two cannot successfully live without the other. God did this purposefully so all of the beauty of his creation would live harmoniously. God designed it that way and we were created to not just “dominate” it as some translations of the scriptures might have us believe. But rather to care for it, to be good stewards of the earth and all that lives in it. John MacArthur wrote, “God made all of his creation to give. He made the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the earth, the plants to give. He also designed his supreme creation, man, to give. But fallen man is the most reluctant giver in all of God’s creation”.
We were designed to fit right into this perfect creation. We were designed to care for everything and to live with everything. Yet often times we are not good stewards of the gifts of God in creation. We consume too much, waste too much, pollute the earth, the skies, the waters, and turn a blind eye to the needs of creation that are dying away. Sometimes we forget that just as plants, earth, water, and animals all rely on each other to survive, so too do they in part rely on us and we on them. We are being called to remember God’s very first commandment to humankind, “And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it”. The translation we use says “subdue it” but in the original Hebrew that word for subdue is paired with a word for dominion, together it implied that humanity was to walk among nature, and to rule through care and contact with it.
We are called to see the holy in nature, to care for the holy inspiration of God, and to help it thrive, not to crush it underfoot. We are called to respect the world around us. This is a commandment that is preached and focused on very little and overlooked when we think of the commandments of God to humanity. But it is the first command without which the world risks dying. We are being called by God to take up our responsibilities to the world around us. We are called to care for nature, to care for this planet that we call home remembering the Native American Proverb, “We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.
We are called to treat this planet like a gift one that we need to make sure survives for our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Just as Christ called us, as his disciples, to care for those in need, God called us from the beginning of time to care for his creation. It too is in need. It is the first commandment ever given and it is one that we seek to live into today. Today we are called as a community to join together working with our hands to plant flowers. Not just to beautify these church grounds, though they most certainly will. But to help provide food for the honey bees, the butterflies, and the birds that will encourage the presence and continued life of our pollinators. In a thoughtful way, we are helping our environment as we remember Earth Day this year. So today as we transition to planting, we will meet in front on the church to bless our plants and divide into groups to add flowers to three places on our church grounds. I hope that this spring you’ll take the time to remember and act upon caring for our Earth and think about how to be better stewards of the gifts God has given to us.
 John MacArthur, 20th century.
 Genesis 1: 28, RSV.
 Native American Proverb.
(Based on Psalm 104: 1-15 and Genesis 1)