And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were
gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. (Genesis 1:9-13)
Earth is a sphere of rock that is unique to the known universe. It's the only known planet to contain liquid water. It orbits the sun at just the right distance to make this possible: any closer and the water would turn to steam, further away and the water would be ice. Liquid water is essential to life as we know it. The human body is made up of about 60% water.
We read in the Bible that God created the earth and everything that is in it, and when God was done it was good, indeed, very good. Since the beginning of time the Earth’s systems were created to be renewing; this is evidenced by the water cycle, the rock cycle, the changing of the seasons, and the way a forest rejuvenates itself after a fire.
We should not be surprised that recent research shows that human interaction with the Earth and its environments can have a renewing effect on human life, also. In order to experience this renewal, we must have spaces where interaction is possible and encouraged. Providing these spaces on our small patches of this orb we call earth is essential in the work of renewing and rejuvenating lives.
Director, Sawtooth Camp
*PHOTO: The outdoor chapel at Sawtooth (Todd Bartlett).
Church in the Wild is a new spiritual community dedicated to connecting with and caring for Creation, based at UMCRM member site Sky Lake Center in Upper New York. Their new Holy Ground resource (worship series and Bible study) could provide the foundation for a weekend retreat, Earth Day Sunday worship or preaching series, or an in-person or virtual gathering Bible study experience at a camp/retreat center. All proceeds from this resource go directly to support the new church start. Learn more here.
Do you remember a TV sitcom called Third Rock from the Sun? A group of extraterrestrials took on human bodies and lived on this big rock called Earth to observe the behavior of human beings. The comedy was due to frequent inter-planetary misunderstandings, but the compelling part of the show was the relationships that formed. Those of us who inhabit Earth also still have much to learn about our Rock, but our learning is enriched when we do it in relationship with God and others. That’s where camp and retreat ministries comes in—which is where you come in! Your donations help us stay true to our mission of creating sacred space for everyone on this third rock from the sun.
*PHOTO: Rocks near Deep Creek at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett).