Eugene Peterson writes this in “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places.” He mentions people who say they want to get in touch with Creation and then they speak of escaping to mountains or retiring to oceanside villas. But instead, Peterson notes that to get in touch with the Creator, to truly appreciate Creation is to spend time with humanity. “Go to a tavern” or “ride the bus” is Peterson’s recommendation for truly getting in touch with these things. (This quote taken from Matt Conner’s post “Do We Really Get Mansions” in The Rabbit Room.)
I read this post tonight, and had to sit and repent for a minute. As the title of this blog suggests, and as my brother never misses a chance to remind us, I’m considered a “tree-hugger” by many who know me. Why, I’m not sure, because I’m really not an environmentalist wacko. I do like camping (though I haven’t been in a LONG time), I love the mountains, and I like the outdoors (usually…I hate gnats and “skeeters”, but can hang with pretty much anything else). However, my wife drives an SUV, our house is completely uninsulated (not by choice, mind you), and we don’t currently recycle (the town doesn’t, and we’ve been too slack to separate the garbage and do it ourselves…that’s sad in and of itself, isn’t it?).
When I read the quote above, it hit me just how messed up my conception, as well as many others’, of creation is twisted. How much do I love being by myself on a mountainside, yet ignore the guy sitting in the booth next to me at lunch? How often do I take time to stop and look at the glory of a sunset but fail to see the beauty in a jar of clay in the pew beside me at church?
Don’t get me wrong: the glories of nature are definitely there for us to enjoy. But, as was pointed out in the Rabbit Room blog, are people not the crown jewel of creation? Are we not made in the image of God (Gen 1:27)? When we say we love creation, why does it not bring to mind the neighbor down the street instead of the tree out our window?
I mean, think about it: creation was subjected to death because of us (Rom. 8:20), but Jesus didn’t die to save a tree. He died to save you and me, and the aggravating guy next door, and the lady at the office, and the skater-kid with the long bangs, and the drug dealer downtown, and the little boy in Uganda. And all of creation waits “in eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” Yes, creation will be made new, but not before Christ comes to claim His bride. We are, amazingly enough, His greatest work.
So real tree-hugging, real care for creation, real environmentalism entails doing everything we can to hasten the revealing of the sons of God! Because if we live as we are to live, if we act out our role in the Body of Christ, He is going to use us to touch His sons and daughters. And when the last one comes into the Body…He will make ALL things new. (Rev. 21:1-5)