An Earth-Day prayer
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
The return of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, bringing songbirds migrating from the South, fragrant blossoms and leaves on trees that had for months appeared lifeless, grass turning green, and colorful flowers from bulbs planted in the fall, hint at the hope this season gives to our hearts.
Whether we live in crowded cities, where pigeons and squirrels gather in city parks waiting to be fed, or in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, nature tells us that all life has value and deserves to be nurtured. Sometimes it's tempting to feel discouraged by global reports of environmental degradation to our planet's ecosystems, but there is hope for it nonetheless.
I take heart from my spiritual understanding of the Bible, with its illustrations of God's love and care for all creation. The first chapter of Genesis shows the order, harmony, completeness, usefulness, and beauty of all that God made. This is the spiritual, true nature of creation, its inherent goodness and permanence.
What constitutes this spiritual creation? In the book of Psalms and the writings of the prophets, trees exemplify useful qualities of nourishment, shelter, shade, life, and healing. Birds symbolize peace, freedom, and motherly and fatherly protectiveness and care. Isaiah portrays the ideal of animals and children living together in safety, peace, and harmony. These and other spiritual qualities - the substance of Earth - are infinite, eternal, and indivisible, and therefore indestructible.
Man, the epitome of creation, including male and female, is described in the first chapter of Genesis as wholly Godlike and is given dominion over this abundant goodness. This spiritual creation is told to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion."
Jesus proved this God-given dominion by walking over the waves and calming a storm at sea, and the Apostle Paul harmlessly shook off a poisonous snake as it was biting his hand.
God's promise is: "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25). The Bible contains many accounts of this law of restoration in operation - of health, families, lives, and lands restored when people lovingly, gratefully, and wholeheartedly turned to God for help.
Brilliant flowers bursting into bloom in Death Valley after thick-coated seeds waited for 50 years for this spring's rains hint at this law of restoration, at the presence of divine Love, divine Life, right where the material senses testified otherwise.
In my own life, I was healed of pain and swelling from a bee sting when I realized that I live in the consciousness of Love, God. Harmful effects from ivy poisoning and drinking untreated stream water quickly dissipated when I saw that plants and water are, in essence, ideas of God. And birds that flew into windows, and a blighted apple tree at our church, have been restored to health through our prayers. These healings give me hope that the spiritual understanding of creation can help our planet.
"The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof" (Ps. 24:1). Since God is Life itself, all creation is one indivisible whole. If we see that our motives and actions have been misguided, we simply need a desire to do better, a little more respect and caring for ourselves and our environment, and some attention to the Golden Rule.
Remembering our own innocence and wonder as little children, discovering the smile of a pansy, the beauty of the inside of a rock, or the joy of a baby bird's first flight, can help us recapture our love of nature.
God has a good and useful purpose for every divine idea in His creation, including each one of us, and this understanding will show us practical ways to help protect our planet. Even rescuing beached worms from the sidewalk after a heavy rain can help us feel the joy of putting this love into practice. And every time our compassion is put into action, the reality of our spiritual nature is proven. To that degree, the human race is enlightened, and the whole earth will benefit.
Suns and planets teach
Mary Baker Eddy
(Founder of Christian Science)