May 16

The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. Psalm 145:9 

Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:21 

Interesting term that Paul uses in Romans – that the creation is in “decay”, he even says that it is “in bondage to decay. “ Is this what we see when we look around at the world we live in? Right now it looks lovely, trees are leafing out, things are turning green and we can go for nice long walks around lakes or in parks. However, it doesn’t take much looking to see that we have polluted this lovely world that God created. We have dumped all kinds of chemicals into water and on land, we’ve had factories spewing pollutants into the sky, we have managed to destroy rain forests, prairie and oceans. 

Having just had Earth Day I looked back at some of the history. It all started in 1970 – that was the year the Environmental Protection Act was signed and we began to clean some things up. In April of that year Sen Gaylord Nelson (from Wisconsin) created first Earth Day; about 20 million American demonstrated in various cities leading Congress to pass the enabling legislation in December 1970. Following that many things were cleaned up – factories had to emit cleaner air, no more dumping of toxic substances onto land, and much more. Currently the emphasis is on eliminating plastic from waste streams that have it ending up in the ocean where it causes harm to many ocean creatures. 

As humans, we manage to lead this creation we were given into decay, and, as humans, we can try to clean it up and renew it. But, this is not something mere humans can accomplish. Paul is speaking of a time of “future glory” when all of creation will be restored. Our natural world is not destined for destruction, but for renewal as a new earth (along with a new heaven) as Rev. 21:1 says. Living things will no longer be caught in a bondage to decay and death. This is something only God can do. The plan He has for our salvation is for all creation and for all people everywhere. As the Psalm says, “the Lord is good to all” not just those we might think should be included. His plan is for the entirety of Creation. 

“But in the end, what matters is that God understands. We are reminded again that humans are not able to fix creation on their own. We can learn, we can create, we can build, all in an effort to fix the problems around us. But only God gives us hope that God alone will liberate the creation from its bondage and bring creation into his freedom and glory.” (from The Groaning Creation by Carl Fictorie, In All Things website) Meanwhile, we have work to do – to continue to do the best we can to clean up the mess made of Creation, and to share the Good News of God’s love and plan of salvation with everyone. 

Lord, your compassion brings us hope. Sometimes we see only decay and destruction but your loving mercy gives us a new vision. We eagerly anticipate a future where all creation is renewed. Give us patience while we wait for the fulfillment of your promise. In the name of Jesus, the redeemer of the world.  Amen.   

Chris Gabel