Today our family drove through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s our first visit to the park since the wildfires ravaged the area last fall, claiming the lives of more than a dozen people and causing property damage and destruction in the hundreds of millions. As we approached the Chimney Tops Trail, we passed several areas of fire damage. A hush fell over our whole family as we observed, intrinsically aware of what we were seeing.
After a while, we began to talk a bit about what had happened, particularly that the fire was intentionally started by humans. That led to a much broader discussion, one we’ve had a few times over the years, about the importance of human stewardship and creation care.
I’ve written about this before, particularly from a theological perspective, and received pushback from some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I remember one snarky exchange where a commenter quipped, “The words ‘creation care’ aren’t in my Bible!” While the phrase itself may not be found in the Scriptures, the concept is deeply ingrained in the biblical narrative. And it pains me that so many of us have missed this.
With all of this fresh on my mind, I’ll be making a series of posts this week on the Christian call to care for creation derived from our status as God’s image bearers. If you’re interested, you might like to peruse this post from 2008 as a primer for my thoughts.