by: Cole Gross

    When we think about nature, we think about our responsibility, as humans made in the image of God, to keep and care for it. But, it is also important to remember our relationship with others. For any man, the easiest way to tell if he is living a life of loving God – a life out of love for God – is if he is living a life of loving others. These are our responsibilities, our privileges on this earth: loving God, loving others; one way we do this is by keeping and caring for the earth.

    There are men, women, and children all around the world who are going without food or clean drinking water. There are even people on the street we will pass today who are hungry, and clearly we cannot feed them all. There are countless people who die of starvation and unclean drinking water every day in other countries, and feeding them all ourselves would be an insurmountable task. So, if we cannot expect a utopia here on earth (that is, made by our own hands), what can we do? We can start by picking up two pieces of trash (litter) before we leave a park, a parking lot, or any public area, and of course any neighbors and/or our own backyards. Clearly, this will help take care of nature (which in turn, helps humans), but how can we foster our relationships with others, showing our love for them? Well, it is a terrible fact that in many other countries, men, women and children must wade in piles upon piles of garbage, rummaging for meals or any scraps of recyclable products which they may trade and sell for money to survive. If we remember them when we pick up these two pieces of trash in our own communities, and pray for them, we are already helping and loving them more than we could possibly understand through the Father. In this simple act we have helped our own community and neighborhood, and we have helped another in prayer a thousand miles away.

    For we cannot simply offer food or prayer and go on undisturbed in our lives, but we must invite others into our homes, and step out into theirs. By picking up trash in our community, we have taken that first step into another’s home, those who must scavenge to survive in other countries, and those in our own community who are hurt by the pollution and sight of litter.

    Of course, how we can start to invite others into our own home is a less simple task, so we will start with this simple asking: Whenever we are outside in a public place, let us pick up two pieces of trash on the ground (large or small…whatever we are capable of at the time) and throw them away, or better yet, recycle them if they are recyclable. Then, when we do so, let us pray for those who are poor and hungry, those who are strangers in our own community, but hurt by the very same things, and those who may survive by the very same means of picking up trash, men, women, and children.