The earth is the Lord's and everything in it.
Back in May, one of our congregation, Julia Billet, gave a homily based firmly in her passionate interest of conservation, care for the environment and stewardship of God's gift to humanity of this world.
Here are the notes that she used for her homily - they're not exactly in "sermon" format, but I'm sure they will spark thoughts and ponderings for anyone who reads them.
What is God saying to me now?
What is he doing in the world now?
I have noticed that when I feel I am missing something spiritually it is because I need to move on, move into what he wants. it is not always to sit and wait. or a rest. Many people in the Bible have been called on to act, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Nehemiah.....
Let us go back to the wonderfully descriptive creation story from Genesis. Look how God seems to be pleased with what he has made. " He saw that it was good".
He must love this creation.
When he tells us to rule over/ to be masters of/ to have dominion over..... did He tell us to be a despot, a tyrant, a dictator, with regard to His creation; or, to be democratic to show mercy and understanding, to be wise. It seems that the latter reflect the character of God, and Gods' love.
Have we looked at it carefully?
" The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person's face. I see that God is part of every facet of creation” Have we looked at it carefully? Have we seen how every part is linked to another and is interdependent?
Where are we going?
Do we think we are fighting a losing battle?
Do we have the courage to look?
What about a turn-about, and say - "We will win", but this needs a radical change of attitude, a willingness to give up what we have mistakenly thought was our right. We know what we want/need, but what about the rest of creation?
When I set about preparing the service for today, I looked at Christian ecology/environment Services. There are masses - masses of information, masses of Christians all over the world trying to show love and respect to all creation along with other people. - remembering what happened in the Industrial Revolution it was loving Christians men who set about fighting against child labour, bad and dangerous working conditions etc. We must not wait for the government to act, but set an example that it will have to follow.
I am going to read some of the things that I have found:
PRAY LIKE IT IS ALL UP TO GOD
ACT LIKE IT IS ALL UP TO ME
YOU ARE CALLED TO CARE FOR CREATION NOT ONLY AS RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS BUT ALSO AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST
WHAT SHOULD I DO? SHOULD I MAKE CHANGES IN MY LIFE? HOW AM I CALLED TO HELP IN THE WORLD?
THE PEOPLES WITH LESS ARE THE LOSERS AND YET THEY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO POLLUTE LESS THAN THE REST OF US
WHOSE WORLD IS IT ANYWAY?
The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. ( Psalm 24, verse 1)
Who owns the world? According to the Bible it belongs to God. If we care for someone, we care for what belongs to them. it's as simple as that. We Christians have no choice - if we believe in a loving Creator God., we cannot but care for his world.
And if we leave God out of the picture, whose world is it then? Doesn't it belong to whales and polar bears, as much as it does us? And as arguably the most thinking, feeling species, do we not bear responsibility to hand on to future generations something as safe, beautiful and liveable-on as we have enjoyed?
By allowing ourselves to be seduced by the 'consume more and you will find happiness' lies of the economic growth god, we are living in a three-planet lifestyle and thereby treating he world like a sponge to be squeezed to the last drop.
So what to do? Just by mentoring our energy use, by taking care over where we source our food, how ( and indeed, whether) we travel. and saying 'no' to the consume more' adverts, we reaffirm that it is not just our world, it belongs to God, bees, fish birds, polar bears and children.
Ruth Jarman, Green Christian
WHAT CAN I DO? SUGGESTIONS.
1. Choose one or more places, plants, animals that you love. Each day, pray with positive intention for that place, animal, plant and the entire ecosystem that supports it.
2. Take a shopping bag with you. Try not to use poly bags for vegetables.
3. Go somewhere where they use paper bags. Re-use them at least 3 times if you can.
4. Refuse polybags at the cheese shop, butcher's, chemist's etc.
5. Eat less meat, less fish. Have at least one day a week with neither.
6. Try to buy local produce which has not used a lot of fuel to get here.
7. Be economical with water. Do not leave the tap running. Use nearly clean water for something else.
8. Control your central heating system. Put on a jersey instead of turning up the heat.
9. Recycle. Nearly everything can be recycled. The bin for land fill should be practically empty. Be strict with yourself.
10. Teach children how damage or changes to the environment can endanger wild-life.
11. Teach our children to notice nature and see its beauty.
12. Be informed.
13. Join walking groups.
14. Join conservation associations.
15. Sign petitions.
16. Protect the South American Rainforests.
17. Look on food labels. Avoid Palm oil.
18. Make a church calendar using nature photos taken by congregation members.
19. Have a vegetable meal competition.
20. Have a church meal with no meat.
21. Try to walk or take the bus.
******************************************************************************************************** Julia gave everyone a plant to nurture, and Pippa, who typed up Julia's notes & sent them to me for inclusion on the site, sent a photo of her plant, with some of Julia's artwork