Our ancestors were placed in The Garden as lords of God’s Creation. God wanted to share His Creation with us, while at the same time, His Creation was meant to lead us to Him. The beauty of the natural world, even the beauty of natural disasters from a geological perspective, should inspire us to grow closer to God. When our ancestors sinned, we were removed from The Garden and now must co-exist in a fallen world in which even weather events can be destructive. It was not always meant to be this way.
I mention Creation today because we continue to abuse our surroundings for personal benefit rather than to grow closer to God, but there are still hints, glimpses and clues, that creation was not always working against us. Today is the commemoration of Saint Tychon the Wonderworker who lived in the 5th century. His holiness was acknowledged by God in the natural miracles he offered. One hymn during the Vespers for Saint Tychon refers to the annual miracle of grapes ripening on the vine during the Divine Liturgy of his feast. This miracle takes place even though the grapes are out of season.
God ever glorifies those who glorify Him: He has glorified you with miracles, for during your honored and divine commemoration, fruit is seen by those who sing hymns to your wonders. As we faithfully partake of this, wise Father, and give you fitting glory, we receive sanctification and blessing.
This is what is possible when we live in tune with God’s purpose rather than our own selfishness. I’m not suggesting that we will begin to harvest miracle crops, but we can’t lose sight of the purpose of God’s creation. It was always meant for us to commune with God and to find Him. When we live sinful lives, and when we abuse His Creation, we miss out on the blessings He intended for us.
There are many stories of holy people living in harmony with nature. Some even keep company with wild animals. Wouldn’t it be nice if our lives reflected God’s desire for us, so that we could live in harmony with nature, rather than panicking every time a storm cloud rolls in? We consider such lives miracles, not because they cannot be explained, but because the are only explained with God’s partnership.
Do you want to help the environment? Begin with living a holy life, and the natural world around you will begin to response according to God’s desires. Remember what we pray in every Divine Liturgy, “Ever good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from You the Father of Lights.” You never know….some day what we know as miracles will be normal. First though, we must live holy lives.