Even with our extended winter this year, the bluebirds are back and choosing their nesting sites, which, for me, means that “spring has sprung!” One of the primary ways I enjoy participating in the earth being reborn each spring is noticing and nurturing native grasses, forbs and plants as they come back to life. In 2006, I restored 26 acres of South Dakota farmland to native prairie plants, right alongside 22 acres of “virgin prairie” on that same quarter section. Annually, I find renewal following Lent and Easter by walking through the prairie, God’s creation.

The Bible and the Apostles’ Creed begin with identifying God as creator. The Bible declares who made it all. In the creed, we confess our faith in the one who made it all. The clear water that flows down out of the mountains, the forests, the bald eagles, the flowers, the shrubs, the newborn animals—for all of it, we owe our thanks to God.

“The earth and all that is in it” is merely on loan. We often hear people say they feel closer to God when they are in creation. We all find life from the earth’s produce, whether you enjoy a great steak or are vegan. Many of us escape from the stresses of daily life by getting away into nature. All of us are called by God to help care for and to care about God’s creation.

Caring for creation is much like the rest of living God’s call on our lives. Each one of us has been given special interests, passions, skills, experiences and abilities to play a role in caring for creation. What is your role? Your special interest? Your special set of knowledge? What experiences shape your attitudes about caring for the earth?

In our world, that can get quite complicated. One person’s rights can be infringed upon by another person’s convictions about what it means to care for the earth! This means it’s extremely important to continue loving our neighbor while we are loving God’s creation.

So as you make your way outdoors to enjoy God’s grand creation this spring, may you be renewed as you encounter God’s presence, enriched as you reflect on God’s handiwork, and empowered to choose and act with love.

Ted Vanderpan
Ted Vanderpan is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, Minn.

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