April 16, 2020

Much-Needed Lesson

Billions of people around the world are under lockdown. After just a few weeks of this, something amazing has begun to happen. Normally dirty air has become crystal clear. Water that is usually choked with pollutants is suddenly clean. Wild animals have returned to urban habitats that were theirs before humans paved them over. Even some domesticated animals have invaded city neighborhoods to graze on lawns that would be off-limits to them under normal circumstances.

Never has it been more obvious that people change the environment—often for the worse. This is because we think the earth—and all that is on it—is ours. But the Psalms tell us something different:
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.
Ps. 24:1
In other words, instead of belonging to us, the world and everything in it—including us—belongs to God. I hope I won't forget this much-needed lesson when things go back to what I think of as normal. And should I ever forget it, then I know that Psalm 24 will call me back from my human arrogance: The beauty and the resources I see around me are not mine for the taking. They belong to God, and God's intention for creation is probably not that it be polluted and marred for the temporary benefit of one of God's creatures. Creation has a much higher purpose than the crude consumption that any individual species—including homo sapiens—sees when looking through its eyes alone.

I pray that the isolation of your human creatures will soon end and that the pandemic will pass. But when it does, O God, I pray as well for new eyes with which to see your world: It isn't mine to be utilized, but yours to show forth your love and your glory. May I never forget what I am learning today, for I pray it in the Name of the One who taught me to pray: Our Father...

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