What did it feel like to take the time to intentionally ask Jesus into your heart and day yesterday? For me at least, I know that this is something I can gloss over. I believe in Jesus, I love Jesus, Jesus is a part of my life. But taking the time to say the words, especially saying them out loud, carries impact. This impact can, has and I’m sure will continue to influence who I am and how I perceive the world.
Presently I am reading an excellent book called God is Not Fair And Other Reasons for Gratitude by Daniel P. Horan, OFM (look for the book review post-Advent). Horan’s book covers a wide range of topics that all link to why we should be grateful for God’s overabundant love, generosity and mercy. One of the key themes that I can see arising from this book is how we look at the world differently when we see it through our relationship with Jesus.
Horan has one chapter that discusses our relationship with creation. He challenges the more standard stewardship model that many Christians operate on: “Rather than think about the whole of nonhuman creation as entrusted to us, which makes us cosmic landlords or property managers for God, we should consider our inherent kinship with the rest of creation” (32). When we view the created world through Jesus’ eyes, what will we see? Will we be looking at a world created for our benevolent (and often not so benevolent) stewardship, a property to be managed that is separate from our own destiny? Or, would we see how when we speak of this thing called “creation” we are necessarily speaking just as much of ourselves as we are the plants and animals residing alongside of us. Are we managers or co-workers in creation?
Do you see how the difference in perspective changes the way we should be operating in the world? Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si is a challenging call for this shift in perspective. Pope Francis says:
I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation.” All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents (14). – Bold mine.
So what are we to do about it? Today, take your 3 minutes to list 5 ways you impact creation around you. Then, list 5 ways that creation impacts you. Finally, come up with 2 things you can do today that will improve your relationship with creation (some ideas might be being more conscious about your water usage, taking care not to throw food away or if you do need to finding a way to compost it rather than add to a landfill, placing a birdfeeder, talking with your children about the beauty and necessity of winter as part of the seasonal cycle, etc.).
***Does inviting Jesus into your heart allow you to see the world more clearly through His eyes? How does this make you feel? Uncomfortable, challenged, motivated, passionate?Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.