Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
    and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
    before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

1 Chronicles 16: 31-34

These verses are a part of David’s great song of praise to the Lord. In it he states the many ways that God’s people are blessed by God, and he indicates a number of areas for which people should be thankful to the Lord for His love, care, and provision. In this instance, David is praising God for the great creative wonder that is the earth where we live. He is also indicating that the creation itself honors God through the expressions of worship that happen naturally in its rocks, plants, and living creatures. As formed by God’s hands, the earth is a great wonder of beauty, life-sustaining water, plants, and animals, and elements that grant shelter and other resources to all of the people that dwell here.

In that original creation, God also gave this world to our ancestors as a place to be cared for, nurtured, and tended. We benefit from its bounty, and we are, in turn, the earth’s benefactors. At least, that was God’s plan for the way that the world was to operate from generation to generation of care takers that also were sustained and nourished by the land, water, and air that we managed with loving care and thoughtful concern. That was God’s design and plan, but we have not chosen to see it so, and we have failed to live up to the commission that was given to us by our Lord. People have viewed the world as a disposable commodity that will, by some mysterious means, continue to replenish and recharge itself regardless of what we may do with it or to it. We consume and pollute at will, and we waste far more than we put to work for useful purposes. I truly fear that if the Lord were to come and judge our performance as stewards and caretakers of His creation that He would need to be harsh with His rebuke and greatly disappointed in our response to caring for His gift to us.

As David indicates, the earth is to be praised, not for its beauty or wonder, but for the way that it reflects the handicraft and the workmanship of the One that created it. Caring for the world where we dwell is an act of deep and powerful worship expressed to the Lord. In contrast, the way that we generally live in our land is an affront to that same Lord and God of Creation. We can choose to turn toward God and to start caring about the big and the little aspects of preserving what remains of our earth. Today there are things that each of us can do that will diminish the waste and the destruction that has been humanity’s mark upon earth since our early days. This is a day for true worship to become my heart’s expression, and now is the time for all of God’s people to join together in bowing down before our Lord with repentance on our hearts and restoration of what has been damaged as the labor of our hands. God is pleased when we worship Him, and caring for this earth where He placed us is one of the most profound forms of worship that we can entertain.