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I’m Rev. Jess Chancey, filling in for John as he is away.
I can’t believe it… I actually bought a home! I’ve been renting all my adult life, and just made this huge change. It’s so exciting! Don’t get me wrong, I loved apartment life. No sidewalks to shovel, no gutters to unclog, and I never once changed my own air filter. But I, like so many people during this time of steep inflation, saw my rent start to go up past the point that I could afford. I realized it was no longer feasible for me to go year to year wondering if I would be able to afford my home come renewal time, or if I would suddenly have to move to a smaller space.
Well, now I own, but I went for a condo, so I still don’t have to shovel a sidewalk or unclog a gutter. But on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, I, Jess Chancey, changed my first air filter. And that’s when it hit me. Owning my own home is a delight, but it’s also a HUGE responsibility. As I spent that day scrubbing every inch of my new space in preparation for my furniture to be brought over, I realized what it means to not just own, but to take ownership. It’s about stewardship.
If I want to enjoy my home, I have to take care of it. It’s all on me. No one else is going to step in and do it. If I want clean air, I have to change that air filter regularly. If I want my showers to be comfortably warm without being dangerously hot, I have to keep an eye on my water heater. If my dishwasher starts to leak, I have to know who to call. Yes, I can modify my space to suit me, swapping out the showerhead if I want something with adjustable pressure and good aeration, but I can’t just leave the mess from removing the old one around. I have to dispose of it properly.
It’s easy to recognize these things when it’s so close, right there, where I wake up every morning, where I play with my dog, where I eat my meals, where I go to bed every night. But what about when it’s the earth as a whole? When the waste we ignore might be out of our immediate eyesight? When our adaptations cause damage further away than the next room? When care for our home isn’t just about our own comfort, but also about that of everyone else?
I hear many people talk about this world belonging to us humans. And they’re Christians, claiming that we are entitled to do with this planet as we see fit because God gave it to us. Personally, I don’t see that first chapter of Genesis as God ceding property to humans, but rather entrusting to our care a world that will always truly belong to God. It’s not about owning the Earth; it’s about taking ownership of it.
When we take ownership, we don’t use and abuse. My condo won’t be worth having too awfully long if I let trash pile up in the corners, let mold grow, and never change that air filter. We care for our home when we claim ownership. We keep it clean and well maintained for the sake of our enjoyment of it, more so when we have a family sharing that space. This planet is prime real estate, and we have a precious family housed here. We can’t ignore the leaves clogging the gutters, assuming that some cosmic property manager will clean them out or that they won’t be our problem when we move to the next place. So let’s all work together to love this planet as if it is our own. Because it is. If we care for it, tend to it, practice good stewardship of it, Earth will continue to be our perfect home as we continue on this, our journey into the mystic.