Week Nine – Earth Keeping
SUMMARY: Students will respond to God’s call to be stewards of all of creation.
Everyone, in their imagination, can go to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Perhaps it is a mountaintop or a long white-sanded beach. Maybe it is the spray and the thunderous roar of a waterfall or the quiet gentle sway of a seemingly endless golden field of wheat. These places can help us to have a Garden of Eden experience. It must have been an incredible place, not only because of the tangible presence of God but because of its beauty. “And God saw everything that he had made, and it was very good.” Gen 1:31. It seems almost unbelievable that God calls us to be stewards, caretakers or gardeners of all of creation. (Gen 1:28) God created the world and he gives us the opportunity to ‘manage’ it on his behalf.
Amazing! Incredible! Amazing? Yes! Incredible? Yes! Easy? No! Caretaking can so easily succumb to exploiting. Stewardship can so often turn into self-centred greed. Our sin has made it difficult for us to take seriously the role and tasks gardeners and stewards must play. Loud voices from our culture shout out, “stuff equals happiness” and we see people wearing T-shirts with the mantra, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.”
We and our students need to reclaim and relearn how to treat the world/universe and all things contained in it with respect (natural resources, environment, water, trees, farmland). This is a matter of respecting God and it is our job.
In our global economy, this earth-keeping is not only about stewarding the environment, but it is also about the challenge of living lives that balance our wants/needs with those of other people (people living in other areas of the world and those still to come). This counter-cultural message is one students must grapple with in our Christian schools.
Could be used for devotions or memory work.
Genesis 1:28 – “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
- Also keep in mind, that the Bible is a story of God saving not only a fallen people but a fallen creation. The pictures of restoration in the Bible include pictures of a restored creation, not just restored people.
Isaiah 11:6-10 – “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Other Passages to Ponder:
- Psalm 65 – God works in creation and cares for it. So should we!
- Ezekiel 34:18-19 – a metaphor of the fat sheep muddying the waters for all the others.
- Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the Lord’s!
- Isaiah 6:3
- I Corinthians 10:26
You can use these as part of your morning devotions or to play in the background during work.
Ideas that you can connect to the learning that is happening or encourage in your student’s free time.
- Turn off lights in empty rooms
- Carpool more often
- Start a compost
- Do your schoolwork outside
- Go to the library
- Interview a senior citizen
- Make your own recycling promotional video
- Support local businesses (i.e. farmer’s markets)
- Participate in the Yellow Fish Road program
- Start a battery recycling program at your school
- Clean up a park/river valley
- Organize “no trash” lunch days
- Plant trees
- Analyze your family’s water use
- Start an EcoKids club
- Explore how other kids are helping the environment
- Try to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive
- Watch these videos and try some DIY projects
- Put up a recycling poster on your fridge
- Create a Recycling Station Monster
- Form a band using instruments from recycled materials
- Host a “Recycle My Cell” drop-off location
- Write persuasive letters to companies on disposal and environmental issues
- Research businesses that are reducing food waste and donating to local charities.
Digital books, devotion ideas, online resources, blog articles, etc.
- Four Principles of Biblical Stewardship – Blog
- Earth-Keeper: Serving God – Blog
- Worship Songs About Care for Creation – Song Collection
- Quick and Easy Eco-Activities – Collection of Activities
- Celebrate Earth Day – Collection of Activities
- Make a Difference – Unit Plan & Collection of Resources
- Earth Keeping – Unit Completion Ideas
FORMATIONAL LEARNING EXPERIENCES (FLEX)
These are experiences that connect our learning/work to real people/problems (to go beyond our normal classroom walls). These are authentic opportunities for students to practice living the Kingdom story.
Div. 1-2 students: Watch the video “How to Make a T-Shirt Tote” and create a tote bag for your family that reuses old clothes and reduces the use of plastic bags.
Div. 3-4 students: Read about textile waste and some of the companies that are trying to address this issue. Imagine ways you can reduce, reuse or recycle textiles. Here are some ideas to get you thinking. Come up with your own DIY textile project, share your idea(s) with others and inform people of the facts and concerns behind this issue.
REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS/SENTENCE STARTERS
It is said that we don’t learn from doing, but from reflecting on what we do. Give students time and space to reflect on their experiences and learning this week.
- How does coveting affect Earth Keeping?
- What is one habit that you can adopt to reduce, reuse or recycle
- Why should we be earth keepers?
- Where in the world would you preserve if you could?
- Who is somebody you know that is a good steward of creation? Tell me about that person.
- When have you seen people/businesses exploiting God’s creation?