Why should you and I care about the earth? Most people would probably answer: "Well, because human society will suffer if we don't" or "Because we owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a healthy planet."
The ELCA social statement on the environment, "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice," gives a different, bigger and perhaps surprising answer. It tells us that we should care about the rest of creation because that is our job — this is why God creates us. It also insists that the Bible tells us that caring for creation is a matter of justice and a deeply spiritual matter.
The social statement is like that — clear, pithy and constructively challenging. Take the time to read it for yourself, bearing in mind recent situations reported in the news. This statement is shorter than many, easy to read, and contains lots to make a Christian reflect in fresh ways about the environment and our special responsibility to it. While the statement was adopted by the 1993 Churchwide Assembly, it remains timely and relevant today.
"Caring for Creation" relies upon a biblical vision of wholeness for creation. It depends upon a Christian understanding of the human role to serve in creation, and a hope rooted in God's faithfulness. It leaves no question: God is at work seeking wholeness and justice for the creation, and God calls us to be hands in this work.
The statement speaks to each of us since individually and collectively we all can contribute to this work. Each of us was made to be a caretaker of creation.
As people of the ELCA we have answered the call to care for creation in certain respects, but we should not be surprised that this powerful statement calls the whole church to rededicate itself today as "captives of hope, and vehicles of God's promise."
This ELCA social statement and accompanying study guide are available for free download at www.elca.org/socialstatements. You can order a free printed copy online at that address or by calling 800-638-3522, ext. 2580.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers