“And the earth he has given to mankind.”

Celebrate Earth Day by getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature.

“God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” — Genesis 1:10

If you’re familiar with the story of God’s creation of Earth and all its living things, you’ve probably heard that verse in some version again and again.

Perhaps you’ve heard it so many times that it doesn’t seem that special. But think about it … God created the very ground we walk on and the waters we drink from nothing other than his sheer authority over the universe. And he did it for us.

“The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind.” — Psalm 115:16

It’s an incredible illustration of power … but also love. He gave mankind a great gift. He gave us the world. He gave us the responsibility to care for its fields, waters and sky.

Mankind has not always taken the greatest care of this gift, as clearly shown throughout history. But today, Earth Day, let us be reminded of how truly precious this gift is. Let us be reminded of how to take loving care of it …

On this special day, please join us, St. Joseph’s Indian School, in saying a prayer written by Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota catechist, as we remember who gave mankind this great gift.

Original drawing done by Bryan, a St. Joseph’s Indian School student.

Grandfather, Great Spirit,
Once more behold me on earth, and lean to hear my feeble voice. You live first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you — the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air and all green things that live. You have set powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things.
— Black Elk

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

4 thoughts on ““And the earth he has given to mankind.””

  1. Thank you, students and staff of St. Joseph school. Your words tell of our responsibility for caring for our Earth–our blue beautiful boat that “floats” in our little solar system.
    I believe there is a verse in Genesis that called us the “guardians” of Earth. I like this verse as well as what you’ve written.
    Yes. It is our responsibility.

  2. Thank you for sharing the Black Elk prayer with us. I have copied it and will post it on my kitchen bulletin board as a reminder to use it in prayer.

  3. A good reminder and beautiful poem for Earth Day. I agree, we humans are not the caretakers of the earth that we should be and wish we could all think of each and every day as Earth Day and not just one day a year. I see God’s love and beauty in all his creation. The plants and animals are just so incredible and unique, each having its own purpose too. God is such an incredible Creator!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *