By Roxanne Smith

When I was in graduate school, I had the privilege of dissecting a cadaver. My classmates and I were in the Physical Therapy program at the University of Iowa. We spent a semester in a lab where prone bodies were lying on metal tables under white sheets. A large room full of corpses.

A large room full of corpses.

The first time we entered the lab, there was a hushed silence. We had never been around dead bodies before, and we were nervous. Would we be able to take scalpel to skin, muscle, nerve, and tendon? Would any of us pass out?

We were assigned in groups, four students to each donated body.  Steve, Christa, Kim, and I peeled back the sheet on our specimen. There she was, a woman’s form, perhaps sixty years old, lying on her back, very still.

We’d been instructed to view our cadaver with respect, and that wasn’t difficult. This was a real person with a real family who had donated her body to science for the training of medical professionals. We were grateful.

The first cut was probably the hardest. All of us had been through the typical progression of dissections in our undergrad days…worm, frog, crayfish, rat, fetal pig, etc.

But this felt different. This was cutting a human being. Not merely tissue, but a person.

The first cut was probably the hardest.

The smell of formaldehyde was overpowering. But we plunged in. As we cut through leathery skin, subcutaneous fat, and muscle, the complexity of human anatomy struck us.

Every bone had its structure; every joint its function. Every tendon, ligament, and nerve its unique position and use. Even the blood vessels were magnificently designed and organized.

As the semester progressed, we dissected more and more regions of the body. We spent several sessions dissecting the brain. It was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life.

It was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life.

So when Phil spoke last Sunday about caring for God’s creation, my thoughts went back to cadaver lab. How I learned something about God’s incredible creativity that year.  How awesome a God He is! How beautiful and complex His world is.

Phil reminded us that God charged us with caring for His creation. Phil said that taking care of God’s creation isn’t a red issue or a blue issue; it’s a green issue. He said we can feel overwhelmed because there is so much to do to protect our world and its resources.

Since God has given us this incredible world to enjoy and take care of, we can do it out of love for this amazing planet.

I appreciated the reminder and the time to reflect on just what I can do. How about you? Is there a small change you and I can make this Christmas season to help protect God’s creation? Please leave me a comment if an idea comes to mind.

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