The Ten Commandments: an environmental perspective
Exodus 20:1-17 (The Ten Commandments) reflected upon as nature is about to be reborn as Spring approaches. What can we do for God's Creation, the Earth?
1. Put God first, not the idol of your comfort, or economic materialism.
2. Do not worship nature.
3. Nature cannot be laid waste in God's name.
4. Honor the Earth. Seek to understand her, and work with her ways.
5. Avoid killing and poisoning the ecological system and its members.
6. Have a respectful regard for Creation; keep ourselves and the Earth good and pure.
7. Do not steal or make selfish use of forbidden fruit. If you do, the evolutionary balance God created will be upset, and nature will moan. We steal away the possibility of an inheritable earth, an inhabitable future, when we acidify the rain, deplete the protective ozone layer, add to global warming, lose species diversity, and cause deforestation.
8. Seeing the earth as our neighbor, we should speak well of her, defend her, explain her actions in the kindest way, overlook her weaknesses and mistakes, and speak only good of her. She is not to be betrayed or slandered or lied about. Nature is not to be challenged, exploited, or defeated.
9-10. When we do not covet anything of our neighbor's, we will not burn trash only to have our neighbor's space suffer its pollutants and wastes. We will not think we are wisely using earth's resources when we are actually leaving Creation poorer.
"The Earth is the Lord's": Thou shall not despoil it nor destroy the life thereon. That is a bold command. To set our attitudes and actions straight we should add: To preserve is worthy; to restore, divine.
The above was a Lenten meditation (March 16, 1994) by Lutheran layman Michael Ochs when he chaired the environmental task force of the Upper Susquehanna Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lewisburg, PA. http://www.uss-elca.org/ .