Tag Archives: earth

The Earth Is Awesome

Texas Bluebonnets are pretty

Driving up to Oklahoma this past week to be with my mom, I was pleasantly surprised to see the wildflowers growing like mad along the highways. I hadn’t seen them this abundant and colorful since moving to Texas. The notoriously long droughts were part of the reason why, I guess. Anyway, it was fun to catch glimpses of all this color on the median and in the fields rather than count the beef jerky and lawn statue stores like I normally do.

Let’s be honest, Dallas people – we do not have the prettiest city. We have some iconic buildings and distinct neighborhoods. We have lots of cement and asphalt. We have more trees than you realize, but some of our parks are a bit bland. The fact that we break up our city entirely by city streets, I think, reveals what you need to know.

It’s not the end of the world. My wife and I love the part of Dallas we live in, mostly because White Rock Lake is awesome. Every time I drive by it on the way to work, the city seems a little less mundane. We often take the natural wonders of our world for granted, forgetting how much they add to our lives. We forget that the earth itself is a gift, something to be enjoyed and cared for.

This Sunday is our Creation Sunday, where we celebrate the gifts of the earth and challenge one another to be good stewards of it. I’m not the biggest environmental guy in the world, but I want to do my part. I know that sometimes passing by that lake releases some stress from my tired body. I recognize that I am in fact a part of creation, not separate from it. I trust the most important bit from Genesis 1, which is that God created and thought it was good, even humankind.

God’s right – it is good. Celebrate that goodness sometime this weekend, okay?


Spirituality, not Religion

Are you a spiritual person?

Are you a religious person?

At one time in our culture, I don’t think anyone would accept that you can answer each of those questions differently. If you are spiritual, surely, you are religious. Or, if you are religious, surely, you have to be spiritual?

So many people in our communities have spiritual lives that may exist outside of a church or some other formalized institution. Spirituality can be a simple thing after all – finding connection with nature, spending time with the homeless at a local shelter, resting for an hour of silence in the corner of one’s home, hiking a long trail, digging up a flower bed in one’s backyard, cooking a big meal for family or friends, watching a moving film, and so on. All human beings are spiritual in one way or another, even if it doesn’t come with a sacred text, rules, or regular schedule.

For me, my spiritual life is connected to the time I spend with my family and time I spend with my imagination – reading books, watching movies, and playing games. I also deeply connect to God through music. Not only am I fed on a personal level, but I find my everyday spirituality strengthened and broadened from some of these activities.

How do you feed your spirituality? How do you connect the Holy in your life?

This Sunday, we close out our balance series by exploring our relationship with God as something that is part of our intricate balancing act in our lives. Join us!

 


Where does it all come from?

Gift of Hands

There’s this song we will sing Sunday with the line – “take my gifts and let me love you, God first of all who loved me.”

One of my professors in seminary told us about this guy that he met who left this lasting image on him. They were in line to get food in a cafeteria. The food wasn’t anything special, but this guy would just get so excited about the mashed potatoes, the bread, the ham, the pineapple, or whatever it was placed on his plate. He would exclaim, “Wow, this looks amazing. Thank you!”┬áMy professor finally asked him if he was trying to be funny, but the guy shook his head and explained that he knew even this food was a gift from God for today.

Another mentor told me about a director of a refugee ministry on the border of Mexico who had lived through a lot of tough times. For lunch, he was offered a fresh apple. The director was so moved and so thankful, that he prayed with tears before savoring every bite.

When I heard those stories, at first, I envied those feelings. Man, it would sure feel good to be so thankful for all of the things I have. How often do I take the abundance I have for granted? But on the other hand, I also felt like maybe those people were overdoing it a little – tears for an apple and excitement over cafeteria food? Come on.

But something kept nagging me about those stories. They began to remind me of how Jesus said that if God fed the birds of the air, how much more would God feed you who are his children?

It’s hard to think this way in life – do all things really come from God? When I bring home a paycheck, isn’t that from my hard work? Isn’t the food I prepare the fruit of my labor?

And yet – we know that food wouldn’t grow if it wasn’t for the gift of life, sun, water, and earth. Our job wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have health, life, education, opportunities, relationship, and energy. Even the people we love, was it really anything we did that convinced them to like or love us?

Perhaps the true beginning of humility and thanksgiving is to understand how fragile life can be and yet how great a gift it is.

We begin a new series on stewardship, giving, and thanksgiving this month. Join us and praise God with your breath, a breath that is even a gift from the Creator of us all.

- Rev. Nathan


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