WHERE DO WE BEGIN WITH CLIMATE CHANGE?

ROMANS 8:18-25 AND GENESIS 1/2

 

Last week I was invited to the Early Years at St Mary’s School. The brief was to talk with them about ‘My Occupation’. Easy enough: I gathered my stoles, service books, a little home communion set and much more for show and tell. But I made a fatal mistake; I mentioned funerals. Immediately their interest was kindled. ‘Tim, my grandad died.’ ‘Tim, both my grannies are dead, you took the services.’ ‘That’s nothing, I had two dogs, one died and the other is a Ridgeback!’ Despite my efforts to steer the conversation to happier things there were constant interruptions of, ‘My cousin died’ and so on for the rest of the session. Hey ho.

 

Our duty in our schools is to nurture these children into maturity. Ofsted checks us out! According to the Bible, humanity has a similar responsibility to nurture the world.

 

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

 

With such power comes great responsibility for the welfare of this world. How are we doing?

 

Some say badly. Ecology matters, especially climate change, are big news. Sir David Attenborough’s amazing documentaries have inspired a generation to acknowledge that things are pretty bad on land and ocean, largely because of the actions of humanity. However while my physicist friends tell me the earth is in a period of gentle warming anyway (the David Bellamy approach) the consensus is that we are making things worse for a raft of well-known reasons, that is unless you believe, as some do, that it is all an evil plot by the Chinese to do the West down! What do you think?

 

We would probably all agree that it is time to do something. Starting small is always a good idea. How about our household energy supplies? Are they clean generated? And our cars: some say the greenest thing to do is run them into the ground or if we can afford it go electric. Are we making Fairtrade choices at the supermarket? Are we avoiding obvious abuses, products containing palm oil for example, which the experts say is produced at the expense of tropical forest? You can make your own list as well as I can.

 

With such power comes great responsibility for the welfare of this world. How are we doing?

 

And at the same time we need to be wise: if we suddenly stop buying their products is it right to throw green bean growers in Kenya or dairy farmers over here suddenly out of business?

 

There is a New Testament take on all this to.  St Paul writes in Romans 8: For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

 

What does he mean? That creation longs for the liberation and fulfilment that will come when Christ returns, but of course Paul always wrote in a Jewish Old Testament context, and he well understood that humankind is responsible for this world and will be judged accordingly. I submit this means Christians should take the lead on eco matters.

 

It is easy to say ‘they’ should be doing something. But who are ‘they’? Simply passing the buck upstairs will not wash. What will you and I do right here right now?

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that when taking an all age service in schools the children, their parents, and grand parents have very different attitudes to eco and conservation matters. As with Greta, the children are unanimous in calling for action now. Their parents think it is a good idea, and their grandparents could not care less. Of course there are noble exceptions to this, but it seems to me a trend. Grownups hold the power and control the money. With such power comes great responsibility for the welfare of this world. How are we doing?

 

A couple of weeks ago we had an Ofsted inspection at St Mary’s School. We governors were fiercely grilled, as were the staff, parents and children. The rules have recently tightened up to reduce the number of ‘Outstanding’ schools, and in the end the Governors are accountable for maintaining standards in academic progress and behaviour. * In just the same way humanity is accountable to God for the welfare of this world. And here I have a confession to make.

 

My family’s political leanings are long suspected, given that both my sons were managers for leading LibDem MPs not so long ago: James for Simon Hughes MP the then minister of Justice, and Jonny for Stephen Williams MP the then minister for communications.

 

But I voted Green at the last election and have started doing all the small things we spoke of earlier. That was my response, it may not be yours. But if you are a follower of Jesus, I invite you to think what you can do too.

 

*We did very well I am glad to say.