I had an amazing week at the Lausanne Creation Care and the Gospel conference. Many of those present were involved in very active work to care for God’s creation, whether that meant working for a missions organization that helps communities improve agriculture and care for the environment by planting trees, or facilitating Christian academics to partner with local organizations in ecological research.
It’s tempting to think of that active vocation as being at odds with contemplative worship. But one of the great take homes of the week for me was the way that all those active vocations of caring for creation came out of the Greatest Commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5). The conference put worship front and center, so that loving and celebrating God was the foundation of everything. We began sessions by singing praise, many speakers made theology the center of their discussions of research and practice, and we had time to respond with prayer. The conference culminated in Communion, and as we shared the meal Christ gave us, the sense of communion with Him and one another was palpable.
Because worship was the center of how the conference was structured, it was easy to see how the many academics in attendance were seeking to make attention to God the center of their working lives. When they step out the door to study stream health or teach about indigenous plant life in their botany class, that is also worship. I was reminded that our day to day vocational lives are an extension of how we celebrate and honor God.
In this context, it was no surprise that a biologist/environmental scientist led the musical portion of our worship, or that a professor of New Testament studies built a careful and joyful theological case for ecological care and hope. So many attendees seemed to recognize that their callings as Christian academics began and continued with worship, so that singing “This Is My Father’s World” and teaching botany were a seamless whole.
It’s that kind of worship I pray will define the vocations of emerging scholars, and I do see that in the lives of our members and writers. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
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