Reading Joel on Earth Day

To be honest, I had completely forgotten about Earth Day this morning until a few facebook posts reminded me.  Every year since 1970, people all over the world have observed Earth Day by going out and enjoying the awesome gift that is our planet.  It’s a time to appreciate and protect the world around us as we note what a beautiful (but finite) place it is.

Image source: wikipedia

As Christians, we have a special relationship with the environment.  In the book of Genesis, God appoints us to be stewards of His creation, a task that involves tending and harvesting the earth, as well as keeping it clean and healthy.  So shouldn’t our celebration of Earth Day be a little different given this extra responsibility?  Are there some practices that we should cultivate for this special day?  How about reading Scripture?

A few years ago, a friend of mine wrote a paper on environmentalism in the book of Joel, and since reading her work, I’ve paused each Earth Day to read through Joel.  It’s only three chapters, so you could probably read it during your lunch break with little trouble, and yet there’s a beautiful story at work in this book.

Joel delivers the word of God to a people in mourning.  There has been an environmental calamity, and the farming community is bewildered and frustrated by a plague of locusts followed closely by a drought.  Their food is gone, but perhaps more importantly, their offerings to God have been consumed as well.  With this terrible sign before them, the people wonder about their relationship with God and with their land, and though Joel must deliver words of judgment, he also brings a promise that Israel will be vindicated.

Take a moment to read Joel today, and let’s talk about it the next time you see me.

Grace and Peace,
Tom

In that day the mountains will drip new wine,
    and the hills will flow with milk;
    all the ravines of Judah will run with water.
A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house
    and will water the valley of acacias. 
–Joel 3:18

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