“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet; all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas." Psalms 8: 3-4, 6-8
Each year in southern British Columbia, Canada, where I live, 30 million salmon swim up the Fraser River. We name them Chinook, sockeye, pink, chum, and coho. Fishermen like me line the rivers casting, casting, casting, and usually catching our limit within a few hours.
All around us the Northern Cascade Mountains rise to 3000 meters, some as snow-capped volcanoes. Osprey dive for fish in the river shallows and further upstream black bear and grizzlies plod through tributary streams to catch and feast on salmon before winter.
We sometimes say that nature shows us God, or that we go to nature to find God. I think it’s as true to say that on the river God finds us. When I’m on the river where mountains loom and eagles soar and salmon jump I remember that God said, in effect, “I made this all for you, and as small as you may appear against Mt. Cheam and the mighty Fraser River, I need your help taking care of it. I entrust it to you.”
The Psalmist understood this when considering flocks, herds, birds, and fish. Planet earth isn’t ours to use up and discard, but to cherish, steward, protect. We gain significance as caretakers for God amidst his creation.
What role might God have for you to tend his world? How have you found purpose or meaning in relating to the animal and plant kingdoms?
Dear God, thank you for earth, ocean, sky and galaxy that remind us of our role to take care of your creation, for it is good. May I not squander, damage, or waste this planet for personal gain. Amen.
Take a walk in a park and consider ways you can tend God’s creation through your choices around waste, recycling, gardening, and the like.
Read Our Father's World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation by Edward R. Brown. Brown’s book helps us understand our role as stewards of God’s earthly creation.