Pastor Jean Newell, Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
“Does this go in recycling?” my grandson, Sabastion, asked his mom. “Yes, it does,” she replied, and he promptly dropped the empty container in the recycling bin that sits next to the trash can in our kitchen.
Recycling to Sabastion and his brother, Sebian, is a fact of life. Countless times, I’ve seen Sebian emptying his school backpack and separating into piles the papers his mother needed to see and papers that could go into the recycling bin.
I can remember when I was their age — in the mid-1950s — when my family lived in Aurora, Colorado and we had an incinerator in our backyard. Everyone back then had an incinerator in their backyard. The incinerator stood about four feet high and was about two feet square and was made out of cement or cinder block. I believe it had a screen-type cover and a trapdoor at the bottom to make it easier to scoop out the ashes that accumulated over time. It was Dad’s job to burn the trash, so he would collect all trash from the various trash cans in the house, take the trash out back and dump it into the incinerator, and then light a match to it. He’d wait until the flames had died down before he would come back inside putting all the trash cans back where they belonged. Although I can still remember seeing the smoke rising up every evening from someone’s incinerator in the neighborhood, no one seemed to worry about pollution!
It was a different time, a different way of living. When I was in junior high school, no one worried about the air we breathed. No one was concerned with how long it would take a Styrofoam cup or plastic container to decompose. No one seemed concerned about the health of our planet.
And yet, Scripture tells us that God created humankind to “fill the earth and subdue it; and to have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth (Genesis 1:28b).” God created humankind to care for the world God created.
Some habits are hard to change. I’m more recycle-conscious today, but it is my daughter, Dawn, who is leading the way as she teaches her sons a way of life that will enhance their lives and the lives of their descendants while, at the same time, honors God’s creation.
As New Year’s resolutions go and with 2016 beginning, may each one of us as Disciples of Christ make a New Year’s resolution to honor God’s creation and recycle whenever we can!