“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all humankind.” – Job 12:7-10
The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.
The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant. – Isaiah 24:4-5
Typically my Sunday posts feature some kind of an invitation to church. But today that is completely unnecessary – at least here in Wake Forest – because worship this morning is being led by the children and if you don’t think that’s worth an hour of your Sunday then a few words of encouragement from me probably won’t make a difference!
So instead I’ll share this gift Rebekah gave to me for my birthday/Father’s Day/the rest of my life. It’s the first time I’ve been grateful to be labeled as “senior” (señor), and I can’t wait to begin a series of blogs one day documenting where I go and what I’ll be doing with this amazing privilege.
First, a few statistics. My pass covers more than 2,000 federal recreational areas, monuments, and battlefields – including all 60 National Parks, 14 of which are designated World Heritage Sites. The total area protected by National Parks alone is approximately 52.2 million acres.
Now, by virtue of my lifetime pass, it’s all mine and the National Parks Service will roll out the red carpet.
Stewards of a great gift!
I’m not sure how many of us even begin to grasp the significance of the responsibility we hold as stewards of this great nation. I won’t argue the fact that industry and farming and various forms of mining are an important element of what it means to take care of ourselves and maintain a strong economy… but exploitation and ruin are now more than ever completely unnecessary given what we now know, what we can do, and the (potential) application of careful management techniques going forward.
However, too many Americans still bow to greed and the pressure to show profitability in the short-term. In consequence, many of the safeguards put in place over the past decade are being rolled back to satisfy the avarice of plunderers and the misplaced priorities of those who are already unnecessarily rich.
We must not only celebrate our National Parks and other federal resources, we must protect them – and we absolutely have to reevaluate the definition of “wealth” so that it better reflects the value of the irreplaceable treasures we will never get back if we make the mistake of cashing them in for easy profit and bolstered offshore accounts.
Meanwhile, back at the church…
So I will show up at worship today looking forward to being led into the presence of God by children, grateful for the unequaled beauty of these United States, and in prayer that we do not sell our souls for the price of a lump of coal, or a 1,400-year-old tree, or some fracking natural gas, or – God forbid – yet another extinction… maybe our own.
Peace, and “flower-power” to all 🙂 DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.