Rio Reflection: Gifts of Creation

Genesis 1:31a

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Psalm 104: 1-4

Bless the Holy One, O my soul….you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers…

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that God gave us the only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.


God of all Creation, you created all that is and called it good. You love creation and we learn about you from it. You send your Spirit to blow in this part of creation, this Rio+20 gathering.  You also are present around the globe, in all landscapes and with all communities. For this we give you thanks and praise and we ask you to challenge us to recognize the goodness of creation and to respond with humble, faithful, responsible action.

Reflection on God’s Gift of Creation

Here at Rio+20 People’s Summit, yesterday was Water Day. Meanwhile, people are also highlighting concerns around land grabs and land reform.  And, climate change and clean air have their place at this table, too.


Water, land, air and more: all good gifts of creation. All under discussion of being commodified, to become part of an economic equation as a “green economy” is considered at Rio+20.  How do we recognize God’s gifts of creation—the beauty and power and mystery of biodiversity (including people)—within this conversation about Rio+20 (see the Outcome Document here).


How do we notice the grace and gift of creation around us? Here in Rio, it has been raining lightly today and the experiences  I had of the People’s Summit were mostly in the urban setting. This too is part of creation, this city environment.


Today’s activities were a nice complement to yesterday’s People’s Summit experiences in a beautiful park, by the water, with mountains in the background. That environment, perhaps, is more easily embraced as a gift and more obviously something we might embrace in creation care but beautiful natural landscapes are not the only part of the world about which we are called to care.


This whole Rio+20 gathering, and all eco-justice, demands that we care for rural and urban, for beautiful environments and ugly ones, for people and creatures and landscapes of all types. We are called to attend to eco-justice issues here in Brazil (fighting for eco-justice in the Amazon forest and against proposed dams), throughout all the Americas, in Africa, Asia, Europe and more.


We are called to recognize the goodness and grace of God in wide open wilderness but also in urban gardens in poor communities. We are invited to faithful work for eco-justice in African desert and in tropical rainforest.  


What does it mean to have principles, priorities, and plans to care responsibly for creation, to respect its inherent value (not necessarily equating that into a measurable capital value)? How do we give thanks for the world around us, to recognize it as God’s, to be respectful and relational with it? Many here are concerned that price tags are being placed on the gifts of the earth and that this is what is dominating the conversation rather than other important principles. What is your hope and prayer for this conversation?


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