What is Creation Care?
What images come to mind when you hear the term “creation care”? Do you picture a dense rainforest bursting with wildlife from the treetops to the forest floor; an abundant garden with plump fruits and vegetables ready for harvest; or a clean ocean teeming with all kinds of marine life? What about people – what kinds of people are there and what are they doing?
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By Jasmine Kwong
Creation care highlights two truths for us. First, “creation” reminds us there is a Creator, the One who spoke the whole created order into being, humans and non-humans alike.
Second, “care” reminds us that humanity, as the image-bearers of God, is not meant to simply co-exist with the rest of the natural world. Instead, humanity is tasked with a special role of caring for the rest of creation – we love as God loves all of His creation.
Humanity’s care of creation is about living out our dynamic, not passive, responsibility to the rest of creation.
When it comes to passion and purpose, many of us don’t draw a personal connection to the natural world. If it’s not part of our professional training or interest, we make excuses: “I don’t have a green thumb”, “I don’t really like animals” or “I don’t know the science behind soil erosion or ocean acidification”.
These kinds of excuses can lead us to conclude creation care is not for us since we don’t witness its impact at the personal level. It may be even harder to see the direct correlation between caring for creation and our Christian faith and discipleship.
Creation care should not be a sideline issue for followers of Jesus. Our love for Jesus is directly connected to knowing that the One we worship is also Lord of all creation, the King of the entire cosmos. We must remember then that our deepening personal relationship with the Creator of the universe is interconnected with cultivating a flourishing relationship with the rest of creation.
Where do we begin? Here are five keys to guide us:
1. Commune with the Creator
Commune with the Father. Acknowledge that your Father is also the Creator God. Delight in all that He has made. Get to know His awesome majesty and the display of His glory through both His Word and His world (Ps 19:1-6). Reflect on how we are God’s beloved and also a part of the community of creation that He has made. We won’t be able to cultivate a passion for our Father’s world if we don’t spend time with Him and know His heart for creation.
2. Enjoy Creation
Spend time in the natural world, especially if we live in the city surrounded by a concrete jungle. Go on walks. Hike up trails. Swim in rivers. Know the place where God has put us. Pay attention to the details found in nature. Take time to admire even small signs of beauty. Ponder upon the intricacies and complexities within nature. We don’t even have to wait to take a trip into the wilderness as we can look for signs of life in the city too. Let’s discover how the natural world helps to point us to the Creator.
3. Embrace Community
Caring for creation cannot be done alone; it requires effort from the whole of humanity. Creation care requires commitment and some level of risk; it is a part of walking on that long, narrow road for the duration of our lifetime. As such, we need friends on the journey with us. We need inspiration and accountability from others to stay the course. Creation care, in whatever form we engage in, is an outpouring of God’s love for us; our joy is that we get to practice it together.
4. Find Focus
Although humanity cannot ultimately save the planet – as we know it is our Creator and Redeemer who will one day renew the entire cosmos through Christ’s victory on the cross (Col 1:20) – we are still called to do our part.
We live in specific contexts, possess different skillsets and are connected to a multitude of spheres of influence. Somehow, we need to combine these factors with the whole gamut of ideas out there. For some it may be cultivating a thriving garden. For others, it could involve caring for stray animals or conserving marine ecosystems. Still others may advocate for stopping the use of plastic or promoting renewable energy. The main point is for us to begin somewhere that resonates with us. Once we find our focus, we need to be faithful in it. Creation care is part of our Christian discipleship.
5. Cultivate Rhythms
Because we’ve neglected creation care the practice is foreign to many of us. We need to recover this part of our Christian identity, first by remembering the “why” of creation care. As we navigate what creation care looks like in our everyday, let’s make room for experimentation.
We need patience to allow new practices to become patterns that are familiar enough they eventually become natural. As our “what” practices begin to take root, they become easier to repeat and adapt into our daily lives. In time, creation care becomes an integral part of our faith and our lifestyle.
How Can You Participate in Creation Care?
Let’s begin by communing with our Creator and delighting in His creation. From there, let’s commit to learning and growing in creation care together as part of the community of creation.
- Dig soil, turn compost and harvest in a community garden.
- Organize community clean-up days and pick up trash in our neighborhood parks.
- Carpool with friends or find a travel buddy with whom to take public transit.
- Go on guided nature walks and bring others along with.
- Bolster the income of small-scale organic farmers through community-supported agriculture.
As we participate in our unique way of caring for creation, we will begin to hear the testimonies of faithful stewardship in different arenas. Our stories will serve to encourage and strengthen one another in continuing to press forward in our own spheres of influence.
Together, we can cultivate rhythms of creation care that become a dynamic part of our lives. May creation care in our everyday enable us to renew our relationship with the Creator, humanity and the natural world.
Jasmine is a creation care advocate. With a background in conservation biology and community development, she often explores the intersections between humanity and the natural world. Her biggest inspiration is the Creator of the universe who is teaching her to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder through His creation.
Jasmine is currently based in the Philippines where she is raising awareness about creation care issues and engaging with other like-minded people. She often admires the many endemic species found only in these islands and when possible, she enjoys diving below the surface among beautiful corals. She shares the vision of shalom where one day all of humanity will reconcile with their Creator and the rest of creation.
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