Today’s Author: PoP Rocks Youth Group

As Earth Day is coming in the next few days, we have begun conversations in youth group about the planet, our thoughts and feelings on climate change, and where we find hope for the Earth amid overconsumption and destruction. While a lot of the conversations in the media are centered on climate doom, I asked the youth to think more about why creation matters to them. That in order to discuss climate change and the need for environmental protections fully, we have to acknowledge our hope, love, and joy of creation.

I asked some of the youth how the planet, nature, and all of creation brings them joy. The common themes were that joy can be found in all aspects of our relationship with creation, especially with pets, being outside, warm weather, sunshine, water, memories, and the rejuvenation of our energy after having spent time outside.

When I think of nature and the joy it brings me, I often think of a poem by Henry Cuyler Bunner that I first read when I was in middle school. Nature’s joy is taking care of the resources we have and planting trees for our neighbor and the next generation.

The Heart of the Tree

Henry Cuyler Bunner – 1855-1896

What does he plant who plants a tree?
   He plants a friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
   The shaft of beauty, towering high;
   He plants a home to heaven anigh;
      For song and mother-croon of bird
      In hushed and happy twilight heard—
The treble of heaven’s harmony—
These things he plants who plants a tree.

What does he plant who plants a tree?
   He plants cool shade and tender rain,
And seed and bud of days to be,
   And years that fade and flush again;
      He plants the glory of the plain;
      He plants the forest’s heritage;
      The harvest of a coming age;
The joy that unborn eyes shall see—
These things he plants who plants a tree.

What does he plant who plants a tree?
   He plants, in sap and leaf and wood,
In love of home and loyalty
   And far-cast thought of civic good—
   His blessings on the neighborhood,
      Who in the hollow of His hand
      Holds all the growth of all our land—
A nation’s growth from sea to sea
Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.

Let us pray:

God of Creation, you gave us all the ends of the earth so that we may be nourished, sustained, and given new life. Be with each of us as we find joy in the spring and learn to be better stewards of the home you have given us. Remind us to seek joy in the midst of justice for your land, animals, people and all creation in between. This we pray in your holy name. Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.