Susan talked about an epiphany of sorts in a post back in June: the “aha!” of the reality that the trees in her backyard may legally belong to her, but she really doesn’t own them. How true.
“Owning” land, or trees or even a house isn’t really ownership: it’s an obligation to stewardship. It has long seemed to me that when the book of Genesis states that man was given dominion over the world, that didn’t mean that we (humans) own the world, but that we are responsible for taking care of and with the land, the trees and the other creatures that share our world. This planet, this piece of creation is to be enjoyed, but not abused. It is to be respected and cared for. And this respect and care is not just for my benefit, but for all the world.
The same concept applies to Cooper and Grace. One paper, legally, I own 2 schnauzers. In reality, I have accepted the responsibility for these creatures. I am responsible for insuring that they are properly cared for. I am responsible for making sure that they get fed on a regular schedule, that they have a safe place to live, that they get attention and that they go visit the vet and keep up on immunizations and don’t suffer from parasites or other preventable illnesses. Rather like children, they are.
So, when the Stewardship committee at church begins to challenge us, I have to take that with the same seriousness. The life of the Christian community in my parish is a part of my responsibility. This life survives only with care and feeding — or is that prayer and participation? Just as with weeding the flowerbed, or paying attention to the dogs, this community thrives on the care and attention of those who consider themselves a part of it.
Some days I don’t feel like it — I don’t think I have the time or energy. Just like some evenings when the last thing I want is a hot dog sitting on my lap, but I give them a few minutes anyway. Or the evenings when I really don’t feel up to choir practice, but I go anyway.
Stewardship: I guess it’s really the required care and feeding/prayer and participation in life wherever you are.