Parish News : October 2021


At Harvest Thanksgiving time, we are used to singing hymns like ‘All things bright and beautiful.’ The Lord God made them all, we sing. God made the whole world, the planets, the landscape around us, the birds and fishes and animals and insects. And the final verse: ‘He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we may tell how great is God Almighty who has made all things well.’ The account of the creation of the world in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, details each aspect made on the first six days, and in verse 31 it recounts how God looked at all that he had made and saw that it was good. God made all things – very well. And in verse 28 he blesses the people (whom he had also made, in his own image) and says to them: “Be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

God speaks to people in ways he does not to the animals he has made. The command to have dominion over all creation is the original mission God gives his people. It is the purpose of creating humankind (verse 26). We are given responsibility over all aspects of creation, to look after it and to protect it, in the same way that we are called to care for one another. We cannot think of ourselves as separate from other people (whichever country they live in) or from creation.

We are increasingly aware however that we have caused terrible damage to all aspects of creation. We have left enormous amounts of rubbish in outer space. On our planet, we are changing the climate, by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases, through burning coal, oil, gas (causing catastrophic changes to the weather, such as wild fires and floods). Climate change affects food security, creates social vulnerability, and disrupts peace and security (this emergency is far greater than anything we faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic). We are affecting the amount of biodiversity (so many species of animals, birds, insects, plants are now extinct which would not have been without human beings destroying their habitat). And we are polluting the earth – some plastics we litter around the seas and land will last many hundreds of years.

But there is good news. God is gracious and merciful. The great story of God’s people down the millennia as chronicled in the Bible shows that time and again, when people make a mess of things, God comes to the rescue. That is why He sent Jesus to die on a cross and to rise to life for us. And he gives us the opportunity now, I believe, to respond to the climate crisis, to repent of our polluting, greedy, resource-depleting ways. We can all make a difference. In the same way that each one of us praying and sharing our faith with others builds God’s kingdom, so each one of us praying and acting to reduce pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, makes a difference in the world. For example:

• Cutting down air pollution will improve health
• Saving energy saves money as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Eating less meat and more vegetables is good for you
• Buying Fairtrade means a better deal for farmers

Let us all do more to reduce our impact on the environment. It is what God made us for!

Tina Upton

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