What if Every Day Was Earth Day? Heaven on Earth Day?

By Eugene C. Scott

I live in Colorado. I’m not bragging. Just sayin’.

19th Century Denver entrepreneur Frederick Bonfils once crowed, “‘Tis a privilege to live in Colorado.” John Denver called Colorado home, writing lots of cool songs about the mountains. Not many other states can claim that. Take Oklahoma for example.

“Visit Colorado for the skiing; move here for the summers,” they say, because we have four distinct seasons. Just when you’re getting tired of 90 degree days, a crisp fall breeze rolls in and changes all the aspens to gold. Then comes hunting season followed by ski season.

Even so, Colorado is not perfect. We don’t have as many bugs as, say, Illinois. And the mountains sometimes block your view. Spring is muddy. And winter is horrible. Like Minnesota with tons of snow (wink, wink, wink).

Never-the-less, many people consider Colorado heaven on earth. I tend to agree, though not literally, of course. But I’m biased. I was born here.

Heaven on Earth Day

I apologize for gloating. It started yesterday on Earth Day, April 22. About 3:30pm my wife Dee Dee, my son, Brendan, and I took a four mile hike into the foothills west of our house. It was a spectacular day, 80 degrees, with a topless blue sky, small white clouds crowning the mountains, the tips of the aspens turning chartreuse, and the earthy smell of being outside and away from man-made contrivances.

Climbing the rocky trail I was in awe. “God is an artist, a craftsman, a dreamer beyond compare,” I thought. “What if every day were Earth Day, heaven on earth day?”

What if we really believed that God created this place and in so creating gave it an inherent worth and beauty? What if, like Jesus, we believed “the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

We might better care for it. Admire, love, nurture, steward it.

Some fail to see heaven on earth

Those of a spiritual mind-set have struggled to grasp the God-given worth and beauty of the material world, however. Christians especially have had too little regard for the material, while dreaming of a celestial place called heaven. This dualism has skewed their view of their environment. They become “so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.” They fail to see heaven on earth.

“This place is not our home,” many of fine-tuned spirituality say while lusting after pearly gates. C.S. Lewis compared our time here on earth to a stay in a fabulous hotel. No matter how nice the hotel, Lewis said, you yearn for home.

Why trash the hotel

Hotel or not, no one but drug crazed rock stars trash the hotel. Yearning for heaven does not mean we ignore God’s command to care for and steward the very place Jesus’ and our own feet touch down.

We are people with two homes

In his book “Christ Plays in 10,000 Places,” Eugene H. Peterson argues that creation is first and foremost about place. This place, not just heaven. “All living is local,” he writes, “this land, this neighborhood, these trees [and here is where radical environmentalists miss the mark] and streets and houses, this work, these people.” (p.72) Like a fine work of art, it all carries the brush stroke of the artist.

God created the very soil we were drawn from. And the earth is not just a platform for our ethereal spiritual selves to briefly settle, like butterflies flitting from flower to flower little recognizing their beauty nor realizing they are a source of life. The material is imbued with spirituality. And spirituality is carried by material reality. They are linked and both are crucial to our lives.

Jesus lived an earthy spirituality

Jesus, who most assuredly lived spiritually, knew this, “Even Solomon in all his splendor was not adorned as these,” Jesus said taking in a hillside of lilies. He was no radical environmentalist. But his was an earthy spirituality: one that saw the touch of his Father in all creation, especially where we least expect it. Not only in flowers, rocks, sunsets, aspen trees, sparkling rivers, but in fishermen, children, prostitutes: people too.

I’m fortunate. I live in a place it’s easy to see heaven on earth. But you do too. Like a room with mirrored walls full of two-year olds, God’s fingerprints are everywhere. We simply have to stoop down to see them.

Where have you seen God’s mark lately?

Eugene C. Scott once yelled at some high school kids who threw trash out their car window. His wife and children were terribly embarrassed and the high schoolers drove off laughing. He is an avid conservationist and loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing, hiking, and people. You can join the Living Spiritually community by clicking here and liking the page. He is also co-pastor of The Neighborhood Church.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “What if Every Day Was Earth Day? Heaven on Earth Day?

  1. elna

    The beauty of nature and the whole of creation is a mirror of God’s beauty….I once looked at the most beautiful sunset and suddenly realised…’that is just an image or mirror of God…He is even more beautiful!! “

  2. Georgie-ann

    I love those puffy white clouds floating in the clear blue sky,… God is an incredible artist/Creator,… And the tangible and intangible things He communicates to us are spectacular,… when we’re “attuned,”…

    Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

    Our spring is unfolding before us and around us,… two bright little dandelions, birdsong, and a robin’s egg have all caught my attention in a very dazzling way so far,… and, for sure, the short-lived enchanting time of the leaves unfolding in their gentle pastels, is underway,… with the delicate colors and effects that Thomas Kinkade somehow managed to capture on canvas so well, so that we could almost hold on to and revisit this ephemeral time that comes and blesses us, but then moves on so quickly,… But just as a silk flower, or a beautiful photograph, cannot touch the momentarily brief “living reality” and essence of the “real” flower, we are so quickly left in nostalgia as these exquisite moments pass,… moments that we would love to preserve and hold on to,… to re-experience again and again,… but we must learn to receive with thanksgiving, and “ride the waves” of change, as God presents us with evermore subtle and dynamic variables in His panoramic displays, while He remains permanent behind it all,…

    We are blessed when we have beautiful things on which to feast our senses,… and when these things draw our hearts and minds close to God in “awesome wonder,”…

    Not only are we stewards of the earth, but we can be intentional stewards of our senses,… our thoughts,… our emotions,…

    Truth, Love AND Beauty are classic aspects attributed to God’s Kingdom,… Each one taken partially, in the hands of imperfect humans, to an extreme — without balance and proper influence from the other aspects — can be easily perverted,… distorted, misapplied, subverted, indulged, to the point that they are no longer reflections of God,…

    We have a lot to learn,… God inspires,… He renews us and nourishes us in so many ways,… how do we respond?

  3. Georgie-ann

    I’ve only been “on the internet” for a few years, so a lot of the “Forwarded” messages that “go around,” and have become “old hat” for so many people, may still be somewhat “fresh” and exciting to me,… (albeit, less so as time passes and repetitions accrue!),… (-:

    However, one video in particular stands out in my mind right now: the one about the teacher asking her class to submit their own ideas about “What are The Seven Wonders of the World?”,…

    Have you seen it?

    After many ideas of amazing places and things on earth have been put forth by the children, the teacher asks one last student,…

    This student suggests our five senses, one by one, and some of the precious things we are able to experience through them, that we often take so for granted,… plus probably some references to life and love, and maybe God,… I don’t remember it all exactly,… but “Brilliant!” as they say in the English movies!,…

    God creates an awesome world, and creates us, and brings us all so close together through His gift to us of our senses,… if we genuinely wish to protect our senses and those of others, we would naturally wish to take better care of our world, and of each other,…

    • I have not seen it. I ignore most of those internet invitations. Some are probably worth seeing.

      • Georgie-ann

        I found a version on you tube: it’s accompanied by a different song, and the graphics are also slightly altered, but not the basic message:

        when I copied and pasted this in the address bar, it worked,… it’s about one and a half minutes long,…

        Perhaps one reason that the dandelions and such are “blowing me away” is that our spring is extremely early this year,… we should just be coming out of hibernation about now, and instead, “everything’s popping!”

      • Georgie-ann

        wow,… now I think I know how to do this!,… this is a different version of the same story,… you tube has comments w/ this one about the original author, an Indiana schoolteacher,… since the people seemed to like this version so much, I figured I would share it with you also,…

      • Sweet. Thanks. My wife, the teacher, and I watched it together.

  4. Georgie-ann

    I also think that sharing meals is a God-ordained way to experience “heaven on earth,”… Valuing “the simple things” and each other, God, and the life He has given us, is time spent in precious and blessed ways,…

    I sort of enjoy looking at mountains from a distance,… but just the thought of being “up close and personal” with them, makes my knees hurt!,…

    diff’rent strokes,… (-:

    • Great point, Georgie-ann. Holy really means to be set aside, not especially special. Small things are often the holiest then.

      • Georgie-ann

        maybe “holy” as well as “beauty” is dependent on “the eye of the beholder,”… and this may, in turn, depend on what’s in our hearts,… majestic and stunning, or hidden and personal, God can be with us in so many ways,…

  5. JPMoyer MD

    We have lived in Colorado for 50+ years. Out here in our little neighborhood, we are the trash people, orange bag people that pick up what flies out of car windows. Usually it’s food/drink related. Usually 2 bags full of stuff, about every 8 weeks. Love the look post pickup, but how fast it goes “back” to the way it was. The people don’t care, see our names on the “Adopt a Highway” sign and have the mindset that their “mother” walks out there and she will handle the trash. The road for 1.75 miles “appreciates” being less cluttered, we love the way it looks, but it’s a sad situation when it re-accumulates week after week.
    We get thanks, thumbs up, honked horns.
    So we will keep doing what we do. The Earth was created with order and there are places for trash far more appropriate than the road ditches.

    • John: You always amaze me. Good job.

      Yeah, I ignorantly believed that all the government fines, programs, and awareness of “littering” would end most of it. Ha. But we are not as bad as Guatemala because the people have no place to put their trash. Some of our environmentalists need to move there and do something useful with themselves.

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