Can caring for creation show love for my neighbours—next door and far away—and help them understand the nature of God?

My wife has a way of bringing beauty out of bare ground. In previous years, green plants added life to our cabins on Logos and Logos II; later, our front porch in Cyprus glowed with a brilliant array of crimson geraniums. More recently, she has transformed a patch of red Georgia clay behind our house in America into a vibrant display of bushes and blooms.

Bringing about beauty in our garden is a way Vreni delights in God. Her care for creation flows out of a deeply held value; it isn’t something she is forced to do. She has also helped foster that value in my heart, as well.

Over the past 12 months, the 14-member Creation Care Working Group explored how caring for creation fits with our vision of cultivating vibrant communities of Jesus followers (VCJF). Rather than yet another requirement or new activity, we consider creation care to be a lived-out value that describes the way we look after the world God has made. It has to do with recognising that the way we live and work affects our communities; it can also impact people far away, as well as how our children and their children will live. It may involve big projects, but it ultimately flows from the lives of individuals and teams, the kind of response that you, I and our families can make.

Creation care is not a recent invention but is instead rooted in a biblical mandate that demonstrates God’s intentions for the world. From the first commandment God gave us—the Genesis 1:28 mandate to care for the garden—to the Revelation vision of praise from “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea,” the Bible points to the value of what God has made (5:13 , NIV). Creation care flows from the recognition that God has made a good creation and that Jesus Christ is the Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of all creation (Colossians 1:15–20).

Not only is creation care a biblical mandate, but it's also an issue of urgent importance among least-reached communities. In our Spotlight Regions, we see environmental degradation and desertification in the Sahel, for example; rising sea levels and increased floods challenging coastal peoples of South Asia; stifling pollution in the Arabian Peninsula and India; and severe degradation of agricultural land in the South Caucasus. In 2021, even wealthy Western Europe confronted its weakness through catastrophic floods and fires. Deeply impacted by each of these, of course, are villages, towns, communities and families in need of the good news of God’s kingdom.

Would understanding what God intended in creation draw some to want to know the Creator God and his Son through whom all things are made? Could it be that the vibrancy of communities of Jesus followers in these regions—and eventual transformation within their communities—will be enhanced when care for creation flavours our response? Can caring for creation show love for my neighbours—next door and far away—and help them understand the nature of God?

Global Perspectives
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