Many of us have been the recipients and givers of some truly wonderful gifts. As the giver, we invest our thoughts and emotions into finding the right gift, often trying to anticipate the response it will receive from the person we are getting it for. As the recipient, we receive the gift with the anticipation of, not only the gift itself, but all the energy that has gone into providing it.
Have you ever experienced, though, a gift being treated poorly after it is received? The person misuses it or neglects the gift altogether. This is a slap in the face isn't it. It truly hurts, as the giver, to see this happen.
People are deeply loved by God, and God is passionate about our well being. Imagine the best gift giver you know of in this world and know that they are no where near as good as God. James 1:16-18 says
"16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."
In the beginning when God was creating the universe, he makes it all and calls it "good". Then he makes humans and places them into this creation and gives it to them to care for and look after. Everything that humans will need has been thought of and provided by God.
The earth is a gift, a good gift, from our Creator who loves us deeply.
You are welcome to disagree with me but I believe that Jesus' reconciling work was for all of creation. It was not just for humans. John's Gospel opens by giving us a description of the Word's intimate responsibility in fashioning the universe. In Paul's letter to the Romans Paul states that all creation groans in anticipation of being fully reconciled once again.
As we ourselves are being reconciled to God, we have the responsibility to pass this message along to the whole world. Our participation in cleaning garbage out of St. Joseph Creek was an act of declaring to the waters that nourish us that the Kingdom of God is at hand.