At the edge of the forest—prayer for fire safety

Hundreds of thousands of acres of forest have burned this past summer. Not only in the western United States and Canada, but also in Portugal, France, Spain, Croatia, and Russia, drought and high temperatures set the scene for a season of fires that caused the evacuation of many thousands of residents while calling for an influx of thousands of firefighters. These numbers would be completely daunting, were it not for the power of prayer. One person's prayer can make a huge difference. I've spent a lot of time, a lot of prayer, on fire-related safety, especially in the past several years after moving to the mountains of Colorado.

Visiting the Rocky Mountains as a teenager, I just loved the woods and the tall peaks. Since moving to Buena Vista, Colorado, five years ago, I've come to love the forest more than ever. I wouldn't call myself a "tree-hugger," because I'm not sure that description really fits the kind of love I feel for this natural environment. What I feel is an affinity for something all-comprehensive, something inspired by God, who is divine Love. Spelled with a capital L, Love signifies a supreme power that encompasses every idea and every consideration, and loves purely (see Science and Health, p. 465).

The kind of love I feel for the forest derives from God's love for His creation. And my prayer for the forest has spurred me to take an active role in its care. The Bible says that God has given each of us, His children, "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air . . . ." It also says that we are supposed to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it" (Gen. 1:26,28). What I understand that to mean is that we have a duty to treat the innocent things of the earth with love and respect. We can do this by learning more about them and about their needs. Prayer and stillness open our thoughts to God so we can understand what will lead to better conditions for the environment. A willingness to change our basis of thinking from material to spiritual lets us hear what God is saying about the actions we can take that best serve the needs of both forests and people. By reflecting God's care for His universe, we can through proper stewardship express the dominion God gives.

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Love outshines racial and ethnic differences
September 22, 2003

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