Stewards of the earth

Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded.  The world is green and beautiful and God has appointed you as stewards over it.  [Muhamad]

Two years ago my neighbor gave me a cactus from his garden. I planted it to see what would happen. This morning I went outside and discovered a couple of beautiful yellow flowers on it. What a gift, I was truly delighted. My mind went to the quote above, especially the phrase about God appointing us as stewards of this beautiful world. 

Sadly I couldn’t help but think of the environmental disasters that have taken place, some accidental but too many because of greed. I thought of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, the more recent discovery of toxic drinking water in Flint due to industrial pollution. Some may remember Love Canal in New York or Valley of the Drums in Kentucky. 

In response to Love Canal and Valley of the Drums a “Superfund” was established and passed in congress in 1980. A Superfund is a US Federal Law enacted to clean up sites across the nation that are contaminated with toxic or otherwise hazardous substances. 

There are 40,000 federal superfund sites across the country, but relax, only about 1600 of those are listed on a National Priorities List. Sites on the NPL are the most highly contaminated ones. The problem is, so often we think those concerns are in other places, Alaska, Michigan, Kentucky, but currently there are sites on the NPL in Exton, Harleysville and Ambler. All of the sites are being worked on but each is in a different state of completion. All of the sites are the result of carelessness and disregard for our environment. May God forgive us for our poor job of stewardship. 

It is time to hold industry and politicians accountable. You have a voice. Study the issues and vote; we all have skin in this game. 

Let us pray:

Almighty, God, gracious and merciful, your thoughts are not our thoughts and your ways are not our ways. You have given to us a planet of exquisite beauty and endless resources. We have wrongly treated them as not being worth tender care and attention. We have neglected our responsibility and thereby have brought harm to the environment and those who now live in toxic areas. We ask that you mercifully forgive our selfish disregard for creation and help us to work to bring restoration and healing to our world through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier