It Doesn’t Belong to Us


“The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;” Psalm 24:1

Does claiming ownership defy mortality?    Consider that in the course of our lifetimes, we acquire any number of possessions – land, homes, automobiles, furnishings, businesses and a plethora of other personal property.   What if in claiming it as ours, we achieve a modicum of permanency?   Why think about the brevity of our lifespan when we’re comfortably situated in our own backyards.

Writes Jim Antal, author, and environmental activist:

“Only a misinterpretation of scripture justifies human domination and control of the land…Once the claim of a Creator God had been sidelined, instead of regarding land as creation, society began to regard land as a possession.   Our consumer society only reinforces this, leading to aggressive and absurd claims such as the ‘oil’ found on God’s earth is ‘our oil.'”   [1]

I confess that nothing gives me more satisfaction than to lay claim to my own little plot of land.  The rituals of tending the garden, planting shrubs and spring flowers and beholding young seedlings help me forget the limitations of finitude.   And yes, there is a huge part of me that wants to claim it all as MINE.    But when God’s creation is viewed as something to be used (because it belongs to us) rather than being cherished, are we really escaping the inevitability of our own demise?

What if we were to not only offer words of thanksgiving for all of God’s Creation – but prayerfully ask that God would make us stewards and guardians – not just for this generation but for future ones?    What if we were to live each day protecting what rightly belongs to God?   Such that by giving assent to safeguarding what is NOT OURS, our lives can be a blessing for future generations, through acts of preservation, activism, and love.

[1] Jim Antal, Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change, (Landham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), pg. 151



Author: Jessica McArdle

These are dark and corrosive times. As a writer and ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, I use prayer, poetry, reflection, and scripture to re-align our embattled spirits with the uniqueness and urgency of our God-given identity and call.

2 thoughts on “It Doesn’t Belong to Us”

  1. If spring does not nudge us to be guardians and caregivers of creation — surely we are the most hard-hearted. Spring calls to us.

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