Man has special kinship with the animals; he is made from the same substance. Yet man also has the spirit of God in him and therefore has a place of honor among the creatures. But what is this place of honor? What responsibility accompanies it? Man’s role in the creation is to be it’s prince and princess; this role however is not one of domination, but of sacrificial love. It’s a role man has largely abdicated. Rather than care for the creation, man has abused it and pillaged the earth. What we need now more than ever, is to rediscover the true role of dominion and creation care.
Jesus and the Example of Dominion and Creation Care
The true role of the royal priesthood of mankind is to save the earth, to bring it order and honor; this is the task that God have to man when he commanded him to have dominion over the earth. Dominion not domination. To have dominion means to lovingly cultivate, respect, protect, dwell with, and relate to nature; it does not mean to oppress or abuse creation. To have dominion means to treat creation in the same way that Good treats us. We find the greatest example of dominion in the work of Jesus Christ. God so loved us, that He became a man, dwelt among us, and ultimately gave His life in order to save ours; in the process He also brought us greater dignity, greater honor, and new life. Jesus didn’t seek to subjugate us through force or violence; nor did He seek to separate Himself from us. Rather, He chose to dwell among us, and within us. He chose to sacrifice His comfort, His station, and even His life out of love for humanity. This is what it means to exercise dominion, and it is how we ought to relate to the creation. We are to love the creation by living among it, in harmony. We are to save creation and bring it greater honor and dignity by living sacrificially; we are to practice asceticism in our use of creation.
The Role of Asceticism in Dominion and Creation Care
Fasting is a form of creation care, as is all asceticism. We use fewer resources, thus sparing the earth. Additionally, our voluntary sacrifice has a spiritual component: it helps us to grow closer, not only to God but to the earth as well. And as we draw closer to God and to the earth, we elevate creation within ourselves bringing it greater honor, greater dignity, and new life. This is the greatest need of our ecological crisis, to shift our thinking from technology to spirituality. More science, and more technology cannot save the earth. Creation needs spiritual solutions. In drawing closer to God, we draw closer to creation. In drawing closer to creation, we draw closer to God. Its a sacred dance of mutual love and communion. Only when we find this communion do we come to find true solutions to ecological problems. Asceticism is the key; out of love for both God and the earth, we sacrifice those things that may bring us temporary comfort for the sake of another. We consume less food, we build smaller dwellings, purchase fewer products, live lives of greater simplicity, not because these things are bad, but because they are in fact very good. We use less because we value more. In using less, we demonstrate our great respect and love for the creation, for its resources, and for the lives of all those affected.
The Role of Thanksgiving in Dominion and Creation Care
Lastly, we must offer a continual song of thanksgiving not only to God who provides for us, but also to the creation that sacrifices itself for our sustenance and comfort. In order to survive, some things in nature must inevitably die. This is the gift that creation gives to mankind at great expense. We must honor that gift, not only by consuming less and practicing asceticism, but my offering thanksgiving to the earth that provides for us. Our gratitude must be deep and fervent. Something gave its own life that we might have ours. For that, let us thank both God and the Earth.
Join us as we strive to create a more peaceful world as we seek to meet the Creator, through the creation. Strive with us to develop an authentic Trinitarian communion, as we honor our God, demonstrate love to one another, and show compassion upon all of nature.
Want to learn more about how to cultivate communion with both God and the Earth? Then join us on one of our Holy Wild Gatherings.
Rewild Church meets in Pittstown, NJ and in various other locations throughout Hunterdon County New Jersey.
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Christian Ecology, Theology, and Holistic Herbalism
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Pittstown, NJ (Hunterdon County New Jersey)