Caring Together for God's Gift of Creation
The Rule of Life, Week 8
by Adam White
We will honor and care for the gift of the earth and its resources, practicing ecologically responsible living, striving for simplicity rather than excessive consumption.
-From the MWF Rule of Life
“Debt” is a word that often makes me cringe. I think it is because throughout my life, and probably yours, there have been numerous warnings to stay away from debt. For instance, to have financial debt is to be in a lower position, having to owe money to someone or something.
“Gift” on the other hand, is a word that makes me smile. It probably makes you smile too! We love getting gifts. We also love to give gifts. With Christmas fast approaching, we probably are all concerned with trying to choose the right gifts for others. Then there is the amazing experience of wrapping and unwrapping gifts. I love unwrapping gifts. I am horrible at wrapping them, but that is a reflection for another day. Gifts wrapped in beautiful and sometimes cheesy paper that is folded aesthetically into a beautiful art work, yet opened in mere seconds, what’s not to love? Let’s face it, gifts are freaking awesome!
And yet, how often do we observe the earth and creation as gifts to honor? Seriously?
Does nurturing and sustaining the created world bring as much excitement as wrapping or unwrapping a new smart watch? Do we pause to breathe in and thank creation or do we let the next episode start?
I wonder what it would look like if we boastfully showed off oak trees or handfuls of compost to our friends?
The vibrant parts of creation that God has extended to us are the most precious gifts we could ever hope to receive and honor in this life. That is what Saint Bonaventure, a thirteenth century Italian mystic believed. A simple, Franciscan Monk, to Bonaventure there was no divide between sacred and secular, material and spiritual. All life pointed to God. “Every creature, because it speaks God, is a divine word,” Bonaventure writes. Creation is iconic. From seagulls to stars, from a grain of sand to a snow-capped peak, each created thing contains a unique “footprint” of God. The earth and all its creatures are sacred, none of them to be taken for granted, all of them to be treated with respect. Through creation God intends to lead humanity to true worship, with the highest expression of God’s self-revelation found when the Word becomes flesh. The central motif of Bonaventure’s complex thought is the concept of exitus reditus, meaning that all of creation comes forth from God and returns to God.*
God, through the immeasurable gift of creation, is calling us to be active and sacred stewards that honor and care for the earth. Let’s start unwrapping, shall we?
Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:
- How do you seek to honor and care for the gift of the earth and its resources?
- How might you seek to follow ecological, responsible living, striving for simplicity rather than excessive consumption?
* Heath, Elaine A, The Mystic Way of Evangelism, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.
The Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life
We hope you are enjoying our study of the Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life. This is our last week to focus on The Rule. This way of life continually blesses us in many ways and we hope that you, our Dispersed Community, have been able to share in that blessing. If you would like a very nice, framable copy of the MWF Rule of Life, you can find several options in our Merchandise Store.