Open, O Lord, the eyes of all people to behold your gracious hand in all your works, so that, rejoicing in your whole creation, they may honor you with their substance, and be faithful stewards of your bounty.
Where does it all come from? The outstanding record of nearly 400 years in America is the unfailing plenty of this land. We take for granted the abundance of what we call natural resources. An increasingly non-Christian population will see the resources as just natural. By contrast, the Christians and Jews among us have the greater privilege of knowing from whose hand we receive the gifts of nature. We also know how to be grateful and whom to thank.
It is the American dream, we hear, for each family or individual unit to have a home to call our own, and many more things as well. But to own some particular item, home or car or whatever, does not release us from the responsibility to care about the property of other people, whom we frequently call "them." From whatever background we emerge and act, the plain fact is that simply to live on this planet is to be a caretaker of it. The person who is politically or financially powerful is no more responsible than the person with little or no power. The former merely has greater capacity to make a difference. Each of us is totally responsible to God on behalf of his entire Creation. A big order for a little individual person! But we do what we can.
With the help of God we look carefully at our environment instead of staring blinded by our greed or self-interest. We take a long look and at the same time a close-up look. We conserve - use only what we honestly need - and we recycle. We help to plan for what is deep-down, long-term best for our planet and its people, all of whom are God's people. We resist the ploys of interest groups and the din of loud mouths. What we pray for is that our personal and corporate motivation as Christians will come from the certain knowledge that God is the giver of all life, and that the living of all life must be to his honor. The business of everyday life is how we enact this certainty. It is how we use our substance, what we are, and what we "own," what we buy, what we give, what we save, what we share. We use the prayer above in order to begin to see more clearly to become God's agents for the healing and right distribution of God's Creation.