Scripture

Revelation 21:5  And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new. And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Several years ago, I joined a group of United Methodists that took a biking tour of Yellowstone National Park, I didn’t know about this story at the time.

In 1994, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Over the last 70 years, the region had started to become bare and stark. The deer had grazed the vegetation to the point of destruction and devastation.

What happened after that is called “trophic cascade”, which according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica is an “ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators and involving reciprocal changes in the relative populations of predator and prey through a food chain, which often results in dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling.”

Though very few in number, the wolves started to kill the deer. Slowly, the surviving deer began to change their behavior. They began to avoid valleys and gorges. As the deer population receded, the trees quintupled in size in six years—aspen, willow, cottonwood flourished. Then birds nested in the trees and beavers increased with the growing supply of trees. Subsequently the beavers built more dams, which provided habitat for otters, muskrats, ducks, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

Wolves then killed coyotes which meant rabbits and mice multiplied, which attracted more hawks, weasels, foxes, ravens, and bald eagles.

As trees flourished, so did the berries, which attracted the bears. The bears then killed young deer, which again kept that population down.

What was even more profound and startling was that wolves ended up impacting the behavior of rivers. Because there was more foliage and roots taking hold, there was less erosion. Regenerating forests stabilized the banks so that rivers became more fixed in their flows with less meandering. Channels narrowed and pools formed. The conclusion: wolves transformed a whole ecosystem and altered the physical geography of Yellowstone National Park.

This story encourages us to care about the environment and ecosystem.

We see many environments languishing, diminishing, if not dying. What would it take to make such a profound turnaround for people’s spiritual lives. For their entire spiritual landscape and geography and community to experience wholesale change, so that everything becomes flourishing. By faith, God’s grace, and strategic action all things can become new.

(Story can be found on the website flixxy.com, by Sustainable Man)

Prayer

Almighty God, Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, what are those enemies and predators that cause us to spiritually languish, to diminish, and to slowly die. We pray that you would remove these forces from our lives and stem the tide of decline. Shore up our footings, reverse the crumbling and tumblings, and set a new kingdom in motion. We call upon you to stop the negative slide of erosion. As we take time for renewal, may we experience new growth, which regenerates new activity and energy, which creates a whole new community and a whole new way of life. Revitalize our dry landscape that we can once again become dynamic and vibrant; that we may become whole new persons and welcome a whole habitation of fresh life. Amen

—Pastor Bob L. Isip


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