“You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.”                                     Nehemiah 9:6

             I stood on tiptoes reading greeting cards at Rush’s Drugstore while Mom searched for the right words to send my distant aunt. Then tugging earnestly at my mother’s sleeve, I couldn’t wait to share the discovery. “Mom,” I exclaimed, pointing. “Did you know there’s a Children’s Day?” It felt like I’d won the lottery. I knew there were always spring tulips for Mom on Mother’s Day, and a blue tie for Dad on Father’s Day. If there were a Children’s Day, it might come with a bicycle, or at the very least, a Candyland Game like the one owned by my best friend Darlene. Without so much as a raised eyebrow, she uttered the nearly imperceptible message, “Every day is Children’s Day.” That’s when I knew it would be pointless to check the backyard for a pony.

This Friday marks the 46th year anniversary of the founding of Earth Day. It would be tempting to say like that lame message from my Mother that every day is Earth Day, but it simply isn’t so. Most of us ignore the extravagant wonder of creation for long stretches, punctuated only briefly by periods of enthusiasm over the first scent of earth in April.

As people of faith, we know that God invites us to care for the earth and all that dwells therein, not just once a year but as a way of life. We need help with this, reminders of the preciousness and fragility of our temporary home. We woke up to the risks imposed upon our beautiful, battered, and bruised world in 1969 when peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. In short order, Secretary General U Thant signed a United Nations Proclamation written by McConnell, and United States Senator Gaylord Nelson declared April 22, 1970 as Earth Day. Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in recognition of his work.

This year, we’re urged to plan trees, as they return oxygen to the world and make the world more beautiful. If you can’t plant a tree, pause in your morning occupation to appreciate the complexity of a singular tree growing in your yard. Pause to notice all manner of mossy greening and skittering creatures at home in this microcosm of our world.

Prayer by e e cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing

day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything

which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,

and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth

day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay

great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing

breathing any—lifted from the no

of all nothing—human merely being

doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake andnow the eyes of my eyes are opened)

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Verlee