The fear of fossil-fuel-induced global warming has led to much criticism of coal, oil, and natural gas over the last few decades. Rather than being motivated by fear, we who believe and trust in the God of creation ought to pause and honestly consider the questions:
- Where would we be without fossil fuels?
- Who gave this great resource to us?
Every week in January, the CRC Office of Social Justice has been releasing worship resources related to CREATION CARE. Below is a Prayer of Thanksgiving that was part of the submissions to OSJ's Creation Care worship resources. May it remind us all that God can, and does, bring life from death.
From Death to Life: A Prayer of Thanksgiving!
Almighty Father, you are Lord of the heavens and the highest heavens, of the earth and all that is in it!
In six days You created everything that exists in our world:
The light and the darkness;
The vast expanse of the sky, and the life-sustaining water that is unique to earth;
The soil, and all the trees and plants that provide us with oxygen, food, medicine, shelter, and countless benefits;
The sun, a nearly unfathomable energy source, and the moon and stars, created to mark the passage of time and remind us of Your vast power;
The fish to fill the waters, and the birds to fill the air;
The creatures that move upon the ground, to be ruled by us humans.
You created all of nature for us, for we are its stewards and its beneficiaries. We are the final and supreme of all created things, not because of anything we have done, but because You created us in Your image, and You are supreme.
Male and female you created us, to live in complementary harmony with each other and with You. Humanity was the final crescendo in the chorus of creation!
Yet our first parents, Adam and Eve, polluted Your song with their own anthem of pride and sinfulness, condemning themselves and we their children to death. This death spread to the nature You had created.
Your grief at man's wickedness could last only so long. Then You used nature to destroy nature. Your floodwaters of justice buried man's wickedness below, yet carried aloft an ark of mercy.
And the paradise you had created was changed:
Jagged mountains rose;
The depths of the oceans fell;
Fertile lands suitable for producing food and sustaining life became barren deserts;
Warm, temperate poles became locked in ice and snow;
Climate conditions that You had created to benefit man became oppressive;
Hurricanes began to rage;
Droughts were born;
All manner of storms and deadly natural disasters came to be, where before they had not existed;
You had created the natural world for man to benefit from and rule over; now that same natural world became man's greatest physical enemy.
Yet in all the destruction of the Great Flood, You planted a seed of life and energy that would one day grow, bear fruit, and sustain the lives of billions of human beings!
Beneath the tons of rocks and mud, the vast forests of Eden and the young earth lay. Compressing. Changing. Being recycled.
You did not let all that You had created go to waste. In Your infinite wisdom and providential grace, You stored all the energy deep underground and converted it into coal, oil, and gas. The energy from the sun, collected by trillions of plants and animals from the time of Adam to the time of Noah, was stored as carbon-based fuel.
For millennia this fuel would go undiscovered. Untapped. Unused. And millions of human beings would suffer because of it. Millions would die. Die from disease. Die from exposure. Die from hunger. Die from nature.
Until one day, humanity would discover the potential power of the leftovers of the Great Flood. We would find the treasure that You had buried for us. The gift that You had given us.
And like a sudden burst of sunlight into a dark room, like a drowning man who is pulled at the last second to the safety of a passing boat, like a bright flower bursting up out of snow-covered ground, man's dreadful struggle against hunger, starvation, and disease is given new hope!
Where we once froze to death, now coal gives us warmth.
Where we once were in darkness, now oil gives us light.
Where we once struggled to plow a few yards of rocky dirt, hoping to grow enough food to last the winter, now diesel and gasoline give us hundreds of acres of food.
Where we once buried our children who had died of disease and malnutrition, now oil and plastics give us medicine and the means of nourishment so that our children can grow and flourish.
Where we once lived as slaves, the powerful few owning the weaker many because human labor was the only means of production, now coal and natural gas produce the electricity that power technology and freedom.
While some lament the use of fossil fuels, we recognize that without them, billions of human beings would be dead. And of the few who did not die, most would be slaves.
Thus we thank and praise our Creator, Who knows when the sparrow falls from its nest, and knows that a fallen tree provides life-giving energy.
We praise the Lord God Almighty, Who created nature for humanity, not humanity for nature.
Let us give thanks for God's provision, for turning the death of the floodwaters into life for us and our families.
Every time we turn on a light switch, start our car, feel the heat of our furnace, the refreshing cool of our air conditioner, or eat nourishing food may we remember and give thanks that God has provided for us.
And realize that His greatest provision is His own death on the cross, the sacrifice of His eternal Son, Whom He raised to life through the Holy Spirit.
From death to life...Amen!