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The Mutual Witness of Disciples and Creation


Mark 16:15 “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Romans 8:18-24a “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subject to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved…”

Job 12:7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humankind.”


There is a story from the 13th century of St. Francis preaching the gospel to a flock of birds. As told by St. Bonaventure in Life of St. Francis, “without the slightest delay he takes to the roads, to carry out the divine command [of proclaiming the good news of God’s saving love] with great fervor. He came to a spot where a large flock of birds of various kinds had come together. When God’s saint saw them, he quickly ran to the spot and greeted them as if they were endowed with reason…He went right up to them and solicitously urged them to listen to the word of God, saying, ‘Oh birds, my brothers and sisters, you have a great obligation to praise your Creator, who clothed you in feathers and gave you wings to fly with, provided you with pure air and cares for you without any worry on your part.’” (ref: franciscan media) I love St. Francis for many things, but his boldness to take the good news of the Gospel to the created world, to declare the praise owed to the Creator from the birds for the way He created them, is one of my favorite stories of the saint.

I was led to reflect on this story of St. Francis when I read Mark 16:15 as the verse of the day on the YouVersion app a couple months back. This verse came after I’d been feeling a little begrudged about The Great Commission as written in Matthew 28:18-20. I confess I was annoyed by how many times in the last week I’d heard Matthew 28:18-20 in different contexts and spoken about in different ways. I was feeling annoyed with the Great Commission. So, as I began to read Mark 16:15, I groaned a little. But as I got to the end of this 16-word verse, the word ‘creation’ gave me pause. I did not feel begrudged or annoyed at this version of the Great Commission and I sensed the Lord asking me to reflect on why that was. My frantically scribbled thoughts came out to this: What does it mean to preach the gospel to all of creation?

Romans 8:19 came to my mind, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” I had the thought that maybe preaching the gospel to all creation is not about telling the birds and the trees the good news about who Jesus is and what He did for us, but rather it is living out the gospel in a way that represents to the creation that we are the children of God. Our living as children of God and being good stewards of creation is how we preach the gospel to all creation. Being whole-life disciples leads to changed lives, living like Christ, stepping into the will of the Father, and being who the Lord intended us to be, which, I believe, has personal/individual, communal and global/humanity implications.

Discipleship ought to lead us to creation care in the sense that our whole lives and everything we do should preach the gospel, not just our words, and not because the creation doesn’t know its Creator, but because it is waiting eagerly for the children of God to be revealed. A whole creation perspective of whole-life discipleship is revealing ourselves as the children of God to the creation by how we live as disciples!

As profound as this revelation was for me, the Lord was not done! Job 12:7-10 says “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humankind.” Here, as compared to Mark 16:15, it is the creation which teaches and proclaims the deeds of the Creator to us. Have you ever walked in the woods or hiked in the mountains or swam in the ocean and felt the presence of the Lord with you? Or seen Him in the beauty spring flowers or in the way a mother bird feeds and protects its young? Is it that the creation has forgotten its Creator and needs reminding through our proclaiming the gospel? I think not. I believe that the ‘proclaiming’ in Mark 16:15 is not teaching something new and unknown to the creation, but rather revealing ourselves as the children of God to a waiting and groaning creation by living as transformed children of God, living out the gospel as the new creation that we are.

The questions I’ve been pondering through these reflections are “how does whole- life discipleship inform our approach to creation care?” and “how do we pursue whole-life discipleship from a whole-creation perspective?” The Lord’s answer to me is the Mutual Witness of Disciples and Creation. The creation witnesses to us and teaches us of the splendor and glory and majesty and power and authority of the Creator: our Creator and God. And in turn, we witness to the creation that we are the children of God being revealed. Our transformation and living as whole-life disciples witnesses to the rest of the creation our salvation and redemption. Through our sin, the creation fell and took on brokenness. Through our salvation, the creation is saved, redeemed, and restored, hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, I am humbled to know just how connected I am to the rest of your good creation. That I can walk outside and encounter You in the trees and the streams and the song of the birds is a gift of grace I will never get over. Lord, transform me, mold me the way you will so that my whole life testifies to your world that salvation comes through you alone and that salvation is here.

Let my life reveal what Your creation eagerly awaits and groans for: salvation, redemption, restoration. I can think of no task worth pursuing more than to proclaim the gospel to all of creation through my transformed life. Let Your will be done in this world and in me. In your name I pray, Jesus, by your power and for your glory, amen, and AMEN.


And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapour of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

Listen on YouTube: “So Will I (100 Billion X)” – Benjamin William Hastings

God of grace and mystery
From Your fullness, overflows
More than we can ever hold
Fill us with a melody
Rising up to greet the dawn
Joining in creation’s song
Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy

Listen on YouTube: “God of Grace and Mystery” – The Porter’s Gate, Audrey Assad on album Climate Vigil Songs

Kirsten, Inspire Missioner and Mentored Ministry student.

Read more HERE of Kirsten’s reflections on whole-life discipleship and creation.

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