"Do whatever he tells you"
Have you missed us? I hope so. Well they do say Ďabsence makes the heart grow fonderí. (Of course, they also say Ďout of sight, out of mindí!) But Iím sure itís been the former. So, summer is upon us — or at least I hope it is by the time you read this. As I write we have been awash with rain!
And we have seen the gardens, and allotments, following the pattern of the weather. Not enough rain and everything was parched. Too much rain and everything was battered and flooded out. But the days have progressed and the balance of sun and wind and rain is settling down and on the whole the natural world is responding and recoveri — Or at least it is on the surface. Because we donít need to look too far to discover thatall is not well with our planet. And as followers of Jesus, about whom the writer of the gospel of John says, "He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being", we need to bring healing. We need to be amongst those who donít just wring our hands and say how terrible all this is but who put our faith into action. Nicky Gumbel, Vicar and Founder of Alpha Interna- tional writes, ĎThis whole universe was made through Jesus, by Jesus and it was made for Jesus. You cannot get a higher theology of creation than that.í
Campaign against Climate Change
I am writing this on June 21st, another UK Youth Strike Day, when students up and down the land are demon- strating once more and drawing attention to the crisis
affecting our world. There may be some who would seek to be negative about their actions but their commitmentto and enthusiasm for the cause is surely worth paying attention to.
And not only paying attention to but responding positively
to. We might feel that our individual efforts will be so tiny that they wonít make a difference but I always think then of the response of a person whoís been bitten by a mosquito; or of having a tiny piece of grit in their shoe.
Bringing a different message, yet using another picture from nature, Jesus says that ĎThe kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branchesí (Matthew 13:31-32). Small does not necessarily mean insignificant.
Maybe you are all already doing all you can to look after Godís creation but if not perhaps as we move into the quieter period of the churchís year I can encourage you to take some time to see what else you can do. We know that this is a global issue. The fossil fuel companies are focused on profits and developing nations are, understandably, reluctant to give up opportunities to improve wealth and prosperity in their countries in the same extravagant and thoughtless way that has happened in developed nations.
But we still have a part to play; if not least of all because one day when we stand before the Creator we will be asked, "And how did you treat my creation?" So, letís do more of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle", sometimes referred to as the ĎThree Rsí of recycling. These three terms all refer to ways that we can minimise the amount of materials that we use, the amount of the Earthís resources that we use, the energy that we use and the amount of waste which we produce in our everyday life.
They have a great website with lots of good ideas and information. You can find it at: www.reducereuserecycle.co.uk
But if you donít have access to a computer to look at all the ideas on there, what about eating less meat, buying items second-hand from a charity shop as well as giving them your unwanted things, switching off the kettle as soon as it comes to the boil, turning off electrical items when not in use (including those that really donít need to be left on
Ďstand byí), investigating how well your house is insulated and making improvements if possible, making sure your energy supplier is a green energy supplier, checking that the heating in all your rooms is set no higher than it needs to be, when throwing anything away ensuring that it is properly recycled if possible, reduce the use of single-use plastic and the use of all plastic bags (including the ones you put your loose carrots into — is that really necessary?), reduce the use of the car, use public transport if possible instead, etc., etc.
You will be able to add to the list, Iím sure; and, yes, some things will be easier to do than others.
I realise that I shared a similar message only last October — proof that the issue is not going away anytime soon! (Denial isnít a river in Egypt!) So, letís continue to worship the Creator by looking after the creation.
And if you are going on holiday over the summer, then do enjoy the beauty of what you see, and we will catch up again in September.