We live in an amazing, wondrous and beautiful place. When we go about our day, we don’t very often grasp this. Most of our daily life is average and ordinary, at least on the surface of it. However, maybe we need to renew our approach to life to rediscover this sense of awe and wonder, even when we go about our everyday lives.
The God we worship is first and foremost a relational God. We are made for relationship and love. We relate to God, to other people, and to his creation, and each of these relationships really matter. Jesus teaches that 'there is no commandment greater' than to love God and love our neighbours (Mark 12:28-34).
God is also about restoration and this includes the restoration of the world he loves and created (Colossians 1:15-20). God wants to renew all things. Not only the plants, trees and animals, but all things, including our relationships. This includes our relationship with how and what we consume, and how that relates to the world we inhabit. The exciting reality is that God is calling us to play a part in outworking this in our ordinary everyday living as part of our discipleship, as an act of worship (Romans 12:1-2).
Theologian NT Wright puts it like this in his book, Surprised by Hope: ‘What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbour as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether. They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.’
God has entrusted us with this beautiful earth and we are called to care for creation. Even though it groans and even though we might groan at times at the state of this world in its present form, we are called to look for and work for signs of hope (Romans 8:19-21). Here’s a question to to consider: If we say we don’t care about the changing climate, are we actually saying we don’t care about the world God created and therefore the people God made in his image? If we claim to love God and love our neighbour, then we should care about our global neighbours being harmed by climate change (Luke 10).
Our poorest neighbours are hit first and hardest by climate disasters, and people are suffering increased droughts, floods, famines, typhoons and crop failure. These harmful impacts are exacerbated by our own unsustainable consumption and pollution. But ‘Love does no harm to its neighbour’ (Romans 13:10). We should demonstrate our love and protect our vulnerable neighbours, by taking action personally and politically to avoid harmful environmental destruction.
How can we show that we care?Our theology is important, but it must be a lived-out theology put into practice for it to be meaningful. Change starts with our lifestyles, by raising our voices and by seeking to live out the values that we hold.
We need to play our part in a way of living that allows all people to flourish and calls time on high levels of inequalities – it can’t be fair unless it’s also sustainable. We need a transformational change in our values, theology and lived-out practice to help us journey towards a zero carbon economy, or more people will be pushed into poverty, and all the huge progress of the last 25 years will be lost. It can’t be fair unless it’s also sustainable. If you want to read a bit more about this then check out a summary of Tearfund’s report The Restorative Economy.
We need to think in terms of a ‘larger us’, thinking less of ‘people like us’ and more of ‘people – like us’; a longer future, to think beyond election and news cycles to what we are handing on to future generations; and a better good life, accepting human flourishing is less about consumption and more about relationships – with each other, with all of creation, and with God.
We therefore walk on in our journey with our bibles in one hand and our newspapers (okay our phones) in the other hand. Praying, living and seeking to be the change we want to see in the world. This pathway is not an easy one, but we don’t walk alone, we walk with God and with each other, in relationship, knowing that we are loved and that we can love because God first loved us (1 John 4: 18-19) #fortheloveof God’s world and his people. Amen.