The Green Bible
Several years ago I bought a Bible that had the subtitle "Understanding the Bible's Powerful Message for the Earth." I knew about the red-letter bible, where Jesus' direct statements are printed in red text, but this book is a "green-letter edition." I was curious to know what the editors meant by that, so I bought it, and let it sit on my shelf with my study Bibles of various themes. I would look up passages for personal study, but I never really read the different introductions and essays before the Scriptures, nor did I peruse the "Green Bible Trail Guide" in the back. I was using the book like a resource, not a study bible. The point of thisparticular study bible, though, is to help the reader truly realize the role humanity has for caring for the earth. When I started looking at the Green Bible as witness repository, not mere resource, I was amazed by the faithful stories that poured off the page.
The editors of the Green Bible wanted to highlight "the rich and varied ways the books in the Bible speak directly to how we should think and act as we confront the environmental crisis facing our planet," (from the Preface, page I-15). The passages selected to have the green text were chosen based on how well they demonstrated:
How God and Jesus interact with, care for, and are intimately involved with all of creation
How all the elements of creation -- land, water, air, plants, animals, humans -- are interdependent
How nature responds to God
How we are called to care for creation
The essays that precede the Scriptures witness the transformative power of faith when it is applied toward our human response to creation and stewardship, and the study guide at the end takes a reader or a group through different themes based around humanity's stewardship of creation and animals. Now, every time I open the pages of this book, a new revelation or witness or thoughtful phrase catches my eye, and my imagination.
On Sunday, the theme of our service will be care of creation and blessing animals - pets, working animals, animals in limbo at shelters and sanctuaries. While not exactly a parable, we will read Matthew's text about the lilies of the field (6:25-33), and the familiar words from Genesis 1 where we learn humanity's special role in creation was to be responsible stewards. If you have a moment before Sunday to read these texts, do so with these questions in mind:
What does the creation story tell us about God's intentions for the earth?
How does God relate to the world God creates? What does that suggest about how we are to relate to the rest of creation?
God declares all of creation to be "very good." Why do you think we have gotten away from that sense of creation as "good" and therefore worth saving?
Finally, I encourage you to take a walk during your favorite time of day. Look around you and notice all the good you see in creation. Find a stone, feather, leaf, or some other item from nature that you can bring home as a reminder that God created all things and declared them good.
~Rev. Andrea Joy Holroyd