Treasuring what we have on planet Earth

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

For many months, the Monitor's news pages have been presenting articles that address concerns about global warming. An important part of the debate has been whether this change in the earth's climate is a result of human activity or if it's a natural evolution. Finding the right answer is important because governments and businesses, especially, will be making decisions based on this research.

I'm no specialist on this subject, so in terms of data evaluation, I'm no help. But one way I'm trying to contribute is through prayer in support of those working in this field and for the individuals such as fishermen, whose livelihood is being affected. I've prayed in different ways over the years – for wisdom in what and how much of the resources I use, for the discipline to recycle instead of just throw away, for discernment when environmental issues come up in the area where I live.

The Bible offers many helpful thoughts. One is from the book of Job, which is mostly a conversation between Job and his friends about the nature of God. They come to comfort him after he has experienced a series of catastrophes and offer their thoughts about why this trouble occurred. Toward the end of their talk, God Himself appears and asks Job, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding" (Job 38:4). This is the beginning of a dialogue between Job and God that restores all that Job has lost and more.

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What I like about this quotation from Job is the idea of God structuring the whole universe. It reinforces the knowledge that God is our Creator and that everything in this creation is spiritual and is designed to work together for good, not evil. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, described our Creator as the one Mind. She wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Infinite Mind creates and governs all, from the mental molecule to infinity.... Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source" (p. 507).

To me, this means that as we are living in harmony with the one Mind, our surroundings will be pure and good. This harmony includes loving one another, being honest, striving to be wise, expressing purity in our thoughts and lives. These behaviors help keep us alert to any change in the environment that might not be good and also reveal what we can do to support local and global changes that will restore the earth.

This prayer also helps me feel confident that even if our overall environment is changing in ways we can't control, God – the one Mind – is good, and will provide the means to meet our needs. And one of the things we can control is our response to the resources God has already provided for us.

One morning I was reading yet again about when Jesus fed thousands of people with only a very small amount of food (see John 6:5-14). What struck me in reading this account was that after 5,000 people had been fed with five barley loaves and two small fish, Jesus told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost" (John 6:12).

I'd never connected that event with global warming before, but I realized that we honor God when we make intelligent use of global resources, to "gather up the fragments ... that nothing be lost." To do this is to value what God has provided for us instead of squandering our blessings. It also combines wisdom and love toward the other creatures on this planet, and gives us more resources for later.

Each step we take to understand our planet's climate and myriad systems that keep it going, and each time we pray for our world will open us up to a greater appreciation of the work God did "in the beginning," and will help us treat with respect and joy the planetary home He has given us.

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