By: Allison Ramirez
As we celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, I am reminded of the words of Psalm 19, celebrating God’s glory in creation, which begins with the following phrases:
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
How exactly do the heavens tell of the glory of God? According to this psalm, they do not have a voice that can be heard through speech, and yet the words of their “voice” travel to all corners of the world because, with gratitude, they proclaim God’s majesty through the nature they are endowed with: trees root into the forest floor, reaching with branches of praise toward heaven, sheltering the things below; rivers rush and teem with aquatic life, a watery vessel for fish to travel; the sun and moon usher in the day and night, balancing the world with warmth and cold; flowers and plants enrich the mind’s eye with dynamic beauty and mystery, inviting the viewing into greater discovery.
Through my own experiences of spending time in nature: running, hiking, and gardening, I have witnessed firsthand the Earth speaking to me that everything is a gift. Yet, how often do I consciously call to mind and express gratitude for all that I have in a tangible way, as the Earth does? Not often enough. When we allow ourselves to experience deep and authentic gratitude, we naturally want to give back. We want to bring about something good for all the good that has been given to us; in other words, to co-create with God in blessing the world around us. I invite you to consider the visible ways you can cultivate a continuous inner life of gratitude by taking up the call to be co-creators with God in all seasons.
In my own life, I have been blessed with an aptitude for words, specifically through my work as a novelist. Through the gift of storytelling, and by crafting characters and stories that glorify God and reveal his presence, I can bring to life a story where he can be found within the pages. In recent years, I have also had the opportunity to co-create with God in developing and implementing lesson plans as a faith formation minister at my local parish. Content creation of faith materials has given me an opportunity to produce something tangible for the benefit of young minds—another expression of my gratitude to God through the gift of teaching.
Recently, I have begun caring for three potted rose bushes on my small back deck. Growing up, whenever the winter frost had melted and springtime was beginning, I would begrudgingly stalk outside to help with the gardening in the family backyard, pulling up countless weeds, pouring out bags of fresh dirt, and helping plant new seeds. Once out on my own in a rented townhouse without any backyard garden, I found myself surprisingly missing the springtime chore. I had taken the gift of aiding in the backyard’s beauty for granted, and I now look forward to the day when I will have my own. Today, I look forward to picking out dead leaves from my rose pots come spring, gently pruning the branches to aid in new growth, and watering the base. As I write, the branches have turned green, and the season’s first yellow roses are about to blossom.
Now it’s your turn. How can you co-create with God from a place of profound gratitude? What gifts and talents has he graced you with that you can use to bring newness of life and beauty to the world? Co-creation arises through baking pies to nourish new neighbors; bringing a spare space to life in decorating for a celebration; sewing clothing to provide warmth for children, and many more expressions of gratitude that create something beautiful that blesses the Earth.