As I write this blog, my home state of Florida is easing her way out of the stay-at-home order. The order has been in place for the past four to six weeks.
Honestly, I am ready. I miss being around people and out-and-about in our community. And, while I intend to be wise as I “renter” (and hope my fellow Floridians will be as well), I am more than ready to get back to a little bit of normalcy.
I have, however, wondered what kind of impact this global lockdown has had on our environment. Based on a handful of pictures I’ve seen, and news articles I’ve read, I’d say the global quarantine may have been a time or renewal for creation.
In some ways, it’s as if all of creation has taken a deep breath and gotten some much-needed rest.
For the first time in decades, it seems, citizens of Northern India are capturing views of the Himalayan Mountain range.
Some are saying that the beautiful and robust waterways of Italy (think, canals of Venice) are more transparent than they’ve been in years.
I’ve heard rumors and seen a few pictures of historically smoggy and polluted skylines now appearing to clear—the clear skies offering breathtaking views of the cities, in some instances for the very first time.
We have, of course, experienced significant loss during this pandemic. We may, in fact, experience many more losses before we’re on the other side of this virus. In my own family, we’ve endured the loss of a loved one who contracted COVID 19 and simply wasn’t able to fight it off.
And, while I’d never wish such an experience on any people at any time, I do wonder what, if any, long-term positive residuals the environment will feel because we simply eased her load for a few weeks?
As a Christain seeking to follow Christ, I believe we have a duty – a sacred responsibility – to care for creation in systemic and global ways. That means that we/I try to do our part, where we can, to help ease the burden creation feels while also enjoying the good gifts she provides.
This burden is a delight—one given to us by the Creator when He first breathed air into our lungs. In Genesis 1:28 and 2:15, we are called to the Royal joy of caretaking a beautiful and bountiful creation. God then chose a people from a small semi-nomadic tribe and invited them to be a blessing to the nations, which cannot happen without careful and considerate creation-care of the nation’s homeland.
The Torah reiterates many times over this call to creation-care. When you run through the Prophets, Wisdom Literature, and Hebrew books of history, you encounter both the command, and its oversight, again and again.
In the New Testament, the Gospels reveal God’s heart for His creation! The letters further proclaim the inherent glory and the hope of creation. And, even as creation groans, she also longs for fulfillment.
In short, you can’t be a follower of Christ and not care about God’s earth, period.
No, I wouldn’t wish a pandemic on any people at any time. As we begin this journey into a new season of life, I do wonder if it might be wise to steward our time and resources in such a way that the world could give the earth an annual break to let her catch her breath.
Such an initiative would require global unity and enormous energy to implement. Such a vision, honestly, might be quite impractical even to try.
Yet, what if we could? What if a global sabbath is precisely what the world needs and the earth requires?
If so, then it’s believers – we who follow Christ – who should lead the charge and seek to pave the way.
After all, if you’re going to opt-out by telling me it’s not practical, then we are going to have to do a review of the practicalities of miracles, the dead coming to life, and redemption offered for all humankind.