To Cultivate and Tend
This Sunday we kick off our annual Creation Season with the blessing of the animals. Why do we spend these weeks in September focusing on creation? Because God created this world and loves it so much that God came to be part of it in the person of Jesus. In that sense, the whole cosmos, the planet and all creation is worthy of reverence, is holy ground.
We bless animals in church on Sunday, because they are holy. They are our neighbors. And God wants us to be in right relationship-- shalom-- with all earth's creatures. Our culture seeks to extract whatever we can get from the earth. We see the planet and her creatures as commodities to be used. God sees the planet as the gift of divine love and we have a mission to receive it thankfully; to steward it, not to use it up.
We live in a time of tremendous challenge. The earth itself is in danger and travail. As Christians we need to listen to St. Paul who reminds us that God is in the process of recreating the world. The whole creation, he says, is in labor pains waiting for the new creation. Those words are more true now than ever. And we, as God's agents, have the task of living as if God's shalom is a reality. That's why over these weeks we will think about our relationship with the earth as we welcome Tom Jacobson, who will talk about the Los Angeles Zoo's efforts to protect endangered species, and Daniel Tamm, who will explore issues of environmental sustainability in the City of Los Angeles.
As Christians, you and I are citizens of heaven, and as such are citizens of the planet. The vocation given to Adam and Eve in the Garden is ours as well, "to cultivate and tend" all earth's resources.