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    The Good Earth

    How my children’s artwork shows me the beauty of creation. April 20, 2018 by Lieutenant Erin Metcalf
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    Photo: © tomertu/stock.Adobe.com
    Few things are more precious than a gift from a child. Our proud artists-in-the-making are forever blessing us with handmade treasures. They beam from ear to ear as they bestow another one-of-a-kind masterpiece, trusting it will be cherished until the end of time.

    I’d like to tell you that I do treasure them. I’d like to tell you they are all neatly stored in labelled plastic bins, to be explored with tears and laughter in later years when memories are thin. But that would be a lie.

    I’m not careful with the treasures my children create. Oh, sure, I make a big deal about it when they present them. I’m properly proud and generous with accolades. I may even put a drawing on the refrigerator or a Play-Doh sculpture on a mantle somewhere … for a few days. But eventually I become indifferent to the artwork. Or—dare I admit—uncaring. (I know! How could I?)

    Perhaps I stop seeing the wonder in every detail and it becomes commonplace. Or perhaps it’s because I know that if I toss it away, another original creation will soon take its place. The supply of children’s artwork is never ending … or so it would seem.

    Those who are wiser and older than me are probably shaking their heads. I can hear them saying something like, “But it will stop. One day, the paintings and drawings and sculptures and unidentifiable creations will no longer be handed over with pride. And when they’re gone, you will wish you weren’t so careless with their treasures.”

    Was God beaming when he created the heavens and the earth, and saw that it was good? Was he filled with love and pride as he gave his good creation to humankind, to care for and treasure?

    A very good earth. A very good home.

    How sad God must be to see us treat his creation with such carelessness and greed, such arrogant expectations that we can devour resources, as if there’s an endless supply. There isn’t. How it must grieve God’s heart that we have grown indifferent and uncaring toward his very good gift.

    Pope Francis said, “The violence that exists in the human heart is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the earth, the water, the air and in living things.”

    God created us in his image and placed us here for a reason. On earth as it is in heaven. There is purpose to his handiwork. To assume we are exempt from protecting and caring for our earth is to deny the very Creator who gifted us with his good creation.
    Was God beaming when he created the heavens and the earth, and saw that it was good?
    And so, we are called to be environmentalists. We are called to care for God’s creation in the same way we are called to care for souls.

    You may think, But what can I do? I’m only one person. If 7.6 billion people all decided their actions were meaningless, the fate of our planet would be decidedly grim. It doesn’t have to be that way.

    The good news is there’s still hope for our planet, our home. There is still time. Look at the world and all of creation with a renewed sense of awe and wonder. Indifference and carelessness doesn’t need to be the legacy we hand down to the next generation, along with a planet too weary to sustain us any longer. Let us treasure the very good gift God has given us.

    I am guilty of taking our planet for granted. I want my children to do better than me. In some small way, I want to model what caring for creation looks like. So, as a new drawing of our family—stick figures with large smiles and wild hair, created with overwhelming love—finds a home on an already-cluttered refrigerator, I vow to preserve and cherish this handiwork.

    Lieutenant Erin Metcalf is the corps officer at Niagara Orchard Community Church in Niagara Falls, Ont.

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