Creation, Wonder and Ecology
For the Lord is a great God, and a great king over all the earth.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. (Ps. 95: 3-7)
There is nothing that our great God has created in heaven and earth that does not have its purpose. He gave us the four seasons; one for planting; one for growing; a season to reap the harvest and a season for the earth to rest and be ready for renewal.
He gave us the sun to warm us and light for the labor of our day. He gave us the moon and the stars in the evening to soften the darkness we need to rest from our labors.
He gave us the animals to help us in our labors. He gave us the plants for food and to bring beauty to our lives.
We are the breath of God, created in His image.
He created us to have dominion over His creation. Adam named the animals and became steward of all that God had created.
God did all of this out of His love for us, so that we might live in harmony with His creation and with Him. In all of this, we give thanks to God through our worship and our stewardship over His creation.
There are many ways for us to show our love and thankfulness for all God has given us. As stewards of the environment, we can learn to live within our means so that we do not use up, misuse or abuse the resources of the earth. We can be conservative in our use of the resources given to us that we need to live, i.e. water, land and fuel, but to name a few. This task can be taken on as individuals or on a larger scale within our communities and our nation. Whatever we choose to do, we should remember that it is for God’s glory, not our own, that we do these things. We take on this stewardship out of our love for our Creator and to demonstrate our thankfulness to Him for all He has given us out of His love for us.
The following are some suggestions of activities to do with your children, Church School students, youth groups or on your own.
1. Plant a garden. Whether the garden is flowers or vegetables, they will attract the insects needed to pollinate our food sources. Check out these websites on the importance of pollination in our food supply: www.pollinator.com and www.pollinator.org. The pollinator.org website provides guides to which plants should be planted in which region of the country to increase the population of the bees, beetles, birds, bats, etc. that assist in keeping our food supply going.
I strongly believe that learning to garden teaches a child patience, not to give up if a plant fails and be willing to try again, and to be in touch with the earth and the cycles of the seasons.
2. Use the theme of Creation and Ecology for an upcoming Vacation Bible School topic. The OCEC has available, The Earth is the Lord’s: Caring for God’s Creation available at www.orthodoxed.org. This is a wonderful curriculum for both Church School and VBS.
3. Search the Psalms for all of those verses that praise God as creator and describe His creation with words of awe and wonder and thanksgiving.
Contributed by Vasiliki Oldziey, Christian Education monthly contributor for April 2011
Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America
Vasiliki Oldziey; (512) 904-0372; firstname.lastname@example.org
Vasiliki (Billie) holds a B.A. in Humanities and Dance from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. and a certificate in the Laban/Bartnieff System of Movement Analysis, NYC. Vasiliki previously taught dance/mime/movement classes for children in the Central Texas region. Currently she is working as a vision and hearing screener for the Austin, Texas school district. For the past 25 years, Vasiliki has either taught Church School or acted as director at St. Elias Orthodox Church in Austin. In 1995, along with the V. Rev. James Kenna, she helped to establish and served as editor of the quarterly publication, The Children's Magazine for Orthodox Christian Children. Vasiliki has also written articles for The Handmaiden. For the past 12 years, she has been studying iconography with master iconographer, Vladislav Andrejev and iconographer, Irene Perez-Omer and has received commissions to write icons for private prayer, for Camp St. Raphael and portable icons for churches. She served as the Southwest Region Writing Festival Coordinator and currently is the DOWAMA Coordinator for Christian Education and the Creative Festivals. Vasiliki also serves as a co-chair of the DOWAMA Sacred Arts Committee, established by His Grace, Bishop Basil. She has led workshops for church school teachers and adult Christian education. Most importantly, Vasiliki is the (proud) mom of Nicholas, who has just started his college education.