(A version of this blog post was distributed as the Climate Caretakers Weekly Prayer Newsletter of January 8,2019)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 NIV
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. – Genesis 2:15 NIV
One college senior said that he had been led by God to turn his engineering degree into a springboard to law school and environmental practice. Another student said she was looking for an agency that would use her environmental degree to care for creation in the mission field. An adult youth group leader shared her vision for teaching young people at Christian camps about God’s call to care for creation. Hundreds of attendees signed creation care commitment cards to declare their individual next steps.
Hundreds indicated particular desires to take action against climate change, help their churches or campus fellowship groups care for creation, as well as practice simple life styles.
These among thousands of college students and others participated in seminars, presentations, bible studies and exhibit floor conversations at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Triennial Urbana Missions Conference held over the last few days of 2018. There I had the privilege of bearing witness to the gospel centrality of creation care at the Lausanne Movement/World Evangelical Alliance Creation Care Network booth with Care of Creation, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action and The AuSable Institute. There I had the joy of witnessing the ways that so many concerned about living their faith in integrity and service embraced the importance of caring for creation, including addressing climate change. We can be encouraged that the upcoming generation of Christians represented at this gathering don’t insist, “Climate Change can’t be true.” Instead they ask, “what does God want me to do?”
Thank you for hope. Thank you for evidence that you are stirring in the world today. Thank you that your spirit has roused a new generation to love you and love their neighbor and to do so by loving and caring for your creation. May the hundreds and thousands who experienced conversations, teachings and exhortations to care for creation find the time, energy and wisdom to do so. May their heightened awareness of our responsibility to care for your gift of creation stir them, and all of us, to care especially for the climate that envelopes our common home. May the seeds planted and the seeds watered at Urbana produce growth and fruit that will touch and transform others to follow their example. Show them, and us, what you want us to do.
Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network Urbana 18 resources : http://lwccn.com/urbana/
Bible Verses on Creation Care: https://earthcareonline.org/pages/bibleverses.html
An Urbana 18 Plenary session Presentation by Scott Bessenecker: https://vimeo.com/307150537