Future Tense Part 4: The Future is Now

I hear and see Things about the stress the planet is suffering from regularly. I hear the hopelessness in my son who believes that it is already too late to save planet earth. We see and experience changes in weather systems, storms, floods and forest fires. We read about the extinction of thousands of species.  We have seen the shocking damage that plastics do to our seas. All this because of the detrimental impact we have on our ecosystem. Young people marching and striking because they are seriously worried about the future. It makes me wonder in the face of all of that what difference can I make?

Maybe you have similar thoughts. Should I care? If God is in control, why should I care?
Following the prompting from one of or members we have been looking into having an environmental policy. We ask the question; Why should we care for the Earth? Not because it is a good thing to do, though it is. Nor because it is the right thing to do, though it’s that too. We don’t care for the earth because we are legally obliged to. We care for the earth because we are called to do so by the Creator, Himself.

If we call ourselves Christians we need to listen to God and be obedient. We are called not only to be the children of God, but to be the stewards of His creation. 

The Psalmist tells us that: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” (Psalm 24 v1&2).

If we really believe this then it should affect how we treat the earth and everything in it and all who live in it. This is not our planet to do with as we wish it is the Lord’s. If we profess to love him then we need to express that love in the way that we treat his creation. This whole series has been about this. 

The first talk was how we should care for the people that live on this planet. They are the Lord’s. They are Gods beloved beautiful creation. This should also colour how we deal with prejudice and extremism as discussed in talk 2. It should also help us as we try to let these verses help us to be part of our community and demonstrate the new community that God and way of being together that God wants for us all that we looked at in talk 3. The story of God’s creation can be found in Genesis 1 verse 1 to Genesis 2 verse 1-3, which you can read here.

It is clear from this that his creation gave him pleasure and that he was very pleased with it. The version of the Bible called the Message translates God’s giving of the Earth to us in these words.“God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” .” Unfortunately, this mandate has been taken to mean we can do whatever we like. Exploitation and domination rather than stewardship and dominion. Even if you are not a Christians it is still a subject that we need to understand and respond to. What we do now will affect the earth as we know it for future generations. The Earth is the Lords and everything in it. The Earth and all who live in it. If we claim to love God, then we should love the Earth that he gave us.

It started well, but people got very clever and started doing things that began to affect our world. The industrial revolution changed everything and we are living with the unforeseen consequences. Our air is being polluted. The air is the earths’ skin. All of life is protected, nourished and held by it. The temperature range just right for water, and life as we know it. we need to take charge.

In my lifetime we have seen air quality improve and the smogs of London a thing of the past when smokeless fuel was brought in. We have seen the Co2 from aerosols dealt with. It is possible to make sustainable changes. There has been a rise in renewable energy and electric cars. Small actions can make a big impact. It took one person in our congregation to trigger an environmental policy that will make a big difference. Churches should be taking the lead in the environmental movement if we really believed that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. But, it is taking a teenage girl with autism to challenge us to take action.

At the end of Greta Thunberg’s TED talk she says this; “We do need hope, of course we do. The one thing that we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope look for action. Then and only then hope will come Everything has to change and it needs to start today. To listen to the full talk follow this link.

We need to make our everyday decisions by thinking about the impact our decision has on our environment. We need to think what we can reduce, what we can reuse and what we should recycle.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you feel when you hear the predictions of the consequences of climate change? How does what you feel affect what you do?
  2. Many of the examples of the affects of climate change are geographically distant. Can you think of affects that you have experienced more locally or personally?
  3. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandments are to; “Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, strength and soul. And to love our neighbour as ourselves.” How should this affect our engagement with ecological issues? What is the reality?
  4. How do we balance the knowledge that God is Lord of all, and in ultimate control with the requirement to take action?
  5. List examples of where the actions of groups or communities have achieved significant change for the better. What simple actions could the community of this church do together that would have a big impact on our environment?
  6. As a result of looking at this subject is there anything that you feel you need to do?
Steph Littlejohn, 26/05/2019