Guest Eco Church Blog

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In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

In his book Telling Secrets, Friedrich Buechner writes, “Breathe deep of the glad air and live one day at a time.”  How appropriate in today’s ever-shifting world.  Our lungs have taken centre stage with the coronavirus and so many of us have been forced to live each day as it comes.  So, it was a relief to arrive one Saturday morning at the iconic White Cliffs of Dover and to be able to breathe deeply and drink in the big sky and wide waters.

 

Life had been curtailed to existing at home, in the Zoom-room, car, garden, and supermarket.  Here however, in the open air there was freedom to meet and interact with one another as human beings.  Strange how nature, not our work/leisure spaces or genius hi-tech buildings, had become our refuge.  Nature is also our home.  I was acutely aware of that as I gazed at the endless sky and sea before me.  Here God formed us and the other animals out of the same dust of the ground (Gen 2:7).  Here God gave us and all creation life, a name and a purpose.  We share a common genesis: we are all deeply interconnected and interdependent.

 

Parker Palmer, writing about vocation and selfhood in his book, Let Your Life Speak, believes that we find our greatest joy in knowing that ‘we are here on earth to be the gifts that God created.’  We strive to be such gifts to each other.  However, I am not yet a gift to God’s good earth.  On the contrary, I contribute to the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the very air that sustains me.  My plastic, my disposable masks and my latex gloves are in the litter of the ocean before me.  The soil I am sitting on is being degraded by my endless consumption and reckless waste both of which are heightened by my throwaway attitude.

 

My eating habits, overseas holidays and electronic gadgets in my warm and brightly-lit home have helped to cause global warming and climate change to the point that species are becoming extinct, ecosystems are being destroyed and my brothers and sisters living in coastal areas are losing their livelihoods and homes due to sea-level rise.

 

I am helping to destabilize the Earth System – who would have thought I was that powerful!  What’s worse, who would have thought that this unexpected and unwanted virus, which has brought the world to its knees, is the one thing that is helping nature to flourish?  Surely, that is my job as a Christian!  What is God telling us in all of this?  What do we discern about our relationship with God’s creation?

 

The world talks about a ‘new normal.’  Christians are naming it a Kairos moment.  At this particular time, Bishop Rose is inviting us to intentionally come together in prayerful conversation in order to seek God and to ask for his guidance for the next stage of our journey.  I am so grateful for such a conversation.  Walter Brueggemann summons us to engage in something similar: prophetic imagination.  He describes this as ‘a daring act of imagination,’ where we anticipate the new thing that God is doing in our midst, a ‘possible world’ which is in the becoming, not yet visible.  What do you discern in such a world?

 

In this ‘possible world’ I envision Christians leading the way in caring for the environment and embracing the call to be both people-keepers and earth-keepers.  Why?  Because the Word of God tells us that creation is God’s cosmic temple and that God loves the cosmos so much, that he sent his son.  We care for creation because we care for the son.  In so doing, we honour God.

 

By Revd Joyce Addison (posted with permission)

 

This article came from the ‘All things bright and beautiful’ email from the Canterbury Diocese, you can sign up to receive it regularly via their newsletter signup page.

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