The 4th Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.

Luther’s Small Catechism
What does this mean? We are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.

Read God’s Word:

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to use,
to bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
and bread to strengthen the human heart. (Psalm 104:10-15)

Have you noticed how sometimes the people we love and care for the most are also the ones whom we treat with the least respect? In these close relationships, our emotions and neediness are less restrained. We don’t have to be on our “best behavior.” This is freeing because we can be ourselves and know that we will be accepted and loved unconditionally. At the same time, this lack of restraint can harm these close relationships and cause deep hurt. Luther’s explanation reminds us that respect-and even restraint-need to be a part of these most important relationships so that they can grow and flourish.

It’s the same way with creation, our “Mother Earth.” Our lives are birthed and nurtured by this whole world. How could we treat Earth differently if we really honored her as our Mother? If we practiced respect and restrained all our neediness so that it could flourish and grow?

Water a plant, bow to the soil, or delight in a weather forecast today. Offer tender care to something o the earth. Treat a beloved relationship with care and respect. Serve, love, and respect the planet!

In October 2017, Lutherans mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with the occasion of Martin Luther writing his 95 Theses. As a church that is “always reforming,” we know that the good news of God continues to encounter us in our life. We are invited to look at classic Lutheran teachings in new ways. These daily summer devotions look at Luther’s Small Catechism through the Lens of Ecology & the Earth. Pastor Molly edited and adapted them from the website