Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Devotional for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Reflection
by Stephen A. Herring

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities!  All is vanity.”  Ecclesiastes 1:2

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells us that it is all emptiness, vanity, and striving after wind.  I can tell you from experience that there are many days when that is exactly how earth care ministry feels! 
It helps me to keep going if I see that earth care is about the way we make changes, good or bad, in both natural and human ecosystems.  The changes we make, or fail to make, can have impacts upon the quality of life for us and for other living things.  The work we do in earth care is about trying to make things a little better here or there for us, for other people, or for other living things.  Our task is to do our little part and to trust God to manage the big picture. 

We labor at a variety of worthy tasks with an aim to make things better for someone or something. The long-term picture will be what it will be, and it is not our job to worry and fret about it.  This subtle shift can take us out of the “vanity of vanities” mode, and into the mode of following Jesus who said; “that you have done it for one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, have done it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)  

What keeps me going in earth care is the belief that my labors serve the comfort of Christ.  I love encouraging people and helping people to clean things up and to make things livable.  This is a worthy task. 

Earth needs our care.  Earth needs us to care about our environment, our space, each other, and all the other living things with whom we share our space.  If we care, we will help someone, or something.  If we help, we are serving Jesus.   

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to care for the small things in my world.  Deliver me from exaggerated self-importance and help me to accept the tasks you have set before me.  Help me to find grace in doing my small part.  Thank you Lord Jesus.  Amen. 

Rev. Stephen Herring serves as Stated Supply at Cobb Memorial and Nahalah Presbyterian churches in the Presbytery of New Hope.  He is also a full time faculty member in religion, geography, and humanities at Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro NC.  In his spare time, he owns and operates a recycling company called Creative Salvage Designs. 

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