Today Friday March 15th young people all over the UK and here in Truro will walk out of their schools to protest about the woeful lack of action on climate change. The protests have been controversial but these young people will bear the brunt of the coming climate change and rightly see it as a catastrophic problem that is worth missing school in order to try and effect political change to avert disaster. It can be difficult for those of an older generation who have known the environment as stable and still with plenty of resources to take seriously the risk we face today. As Christians however, we have a duty to protest when we see the world and political or other powers behaving in a way which threatens God’s creation and the well- being of others, particularly the poor who bear the brunt of climate change around the world.
Being followers of Jesus means that we should be working to bring the full reality of the Kingdom of God into being: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10. The Kingdom of God is not “of this world” meaning that it is not part of, or subject to, the political and cultural powers of any place or time but it is very much of the created world and God’s plan is for the care and redemption of the whole creation.
The Jewish religion honours the fragile created world, and the Old Testament speaks of the need for Sabbath and regular rests for the earth and the 50 year Jubilee, where land was rested: “but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. “ Leviticus 25:4-5.
There is actually a long history of Christian campaigning and care for the environment which has only become more muted in recent years, some would say because of a fear of association with “pagan” or “New Age” religion within the Green movement. However, abuse of God’s creation is a sin. God created the world and sustains it moment by moment, he loved it so much he became incarnate within it in the person of Jesus. Therefore it becomes a Christian duty to protest when this creation is under threat. As Pete Enns says:
“We are humans living here and now under systems of government, but we are also living in and trying to embody here and now our deeper “heavenly” citizenship. ….. I take it as non-negotiable that the Christian’s first allegiance is to God and God’s kingdom. Doing so is why we are “saved” in the first place—not to escape this world but to help transform it.”
For those who are looking to join in with today's protest it begins at 9am from Lemon Quay, Truro and travels to New County Hall at 1100 followed by:
1200 Open letter read to government and a platform for youth to voice their concerns
1230 Study session
1300 Q&A with Sue James and hopefully other members of CCC
Please make sure you have spoken to your school or college about your desire to join the march before attending it.
All this talk of recycling, protecting the environment, and green energy reminds me of one of my favourite dad jokes. It goes like this: I gave all my dead batteries away today… free of charge!
Since Sunday 1st September the Church of England has been keeping Creationtide, a period in the church calendar that concludes on the feast of St Francis 4th October. At All Saints Truro we’ve been thinking about what a Christian care for God’s creation might look like. We’ve been thinking about the impact of pollution and climate change, and about sustainable living and environmental justice. We’ve been blessed to hear some great speakers and preachers including Dr Tim Taylor (Senior lecturer at Exeter University for Environmental Economics), Luci Isaacson (Diocesan Environmental Officer), Janette Mullett (Director of Epiphany House) and Revd Dr Lucy Larkin (Tutor for SWMTC).
Hearing these people has reminded me of how important it is for Christ’s church to take seriously the instruction to ‘be fruitful, and to care for’ this incredible gift of life. As I’ve reflected on our discussions it has been increasingly clear to me how important this is, and how it’s not so much about the church being ‘green’, although that is important, but more about our walk with Jesus.
I’ve learnt that our relationship with creation is the great leveller, since all of humanity is dependent on God’s gift of life - through His Word and His Spirit in a spiritual sense, and through creation in a physical sense. We all require food, we all require fresh water, warmth and shelter to live. It doesn’t matter if we’re a wealthy oil tycoon, or a struggling unemployed dad of three, we still need the basic elements of life to flourish. Jesus’ ministry was always close to this truth. As he mixed with the rich and the famous and the poor and forgotten, his teaching was never far away from the essentials of human need. It was a grounded ministry, held close to the dirt and earthiness of life.
The more I’ve studied the bible over the course of Creationtide the more I’ve come to realise that Christian discipleship is lived out in our love for Jesus and in our delight for what was created through Him. In essence, how our love for Jesus can be reflected in our love for what was brought about through him. Sadly, much of the developed world has over-consumed and underappreciated God’s creation; and as a result, the poor and forgotten have paid the price.
Christ’s church can take a lead here by making small and simple lifestyle changes, such as recycling our batteries – despite my dad joke. As well as taking the Truro Diocese 10 pledges.
Here’s another dad joke (as they’re called in our household) – Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon? The food is great, but there’s just no atmosphere!!
I’m really sorry.
Creationtide is about protecting our atmosphere but also about creating a new atmosphere of action in the church to protect God’s creation. And to see this environmental theology as an expression of our walk with Jesus. We don’t need eco-warriors we just need more followers of Jesus who want to keep breaking bread with the world, and want to meet more people at the well.
Revd Jeremy Putnam | All Saints Truro
I’ve just finished reading an article about Glastonbury 2017. Every year, it’s bigger, it’s better, the acts are more sought after and tickets get sold on the secondary market for more money than before due to the sheer demand. Every year however there is something else that is bigger.
The immense pile of tents and camping equipment that is left behind. The article was about Cornwall Fire and Rescue and the trip they take to Glastonbury, along with a number of charities and organisations, to reclaim some of the thousands of tents that are left behind.
One could almost understand waking up from a heavy night in 2016, when it’s been raining all weekend, and your tent is half full of mud, and not wanting to take it down without making it more of a mess or even usable again, but I’m still not convinced that gives permission to abandon your tent and leave it for someone else to deal with it.
In August we have our own mini version of the same situation when Boardmasters hits Newquay.
Boardmasters wishes to explain in the next few years to be accepting 50,000 people meaning even more tents abandoned in the seaside town.
Earlier this week I read another article about such kind of waste, such throw away ideas. This time it was about the number of body boards which are just left on beaches throughout Cornwall. The article estimated around 14,000 body boards are bought and abandoned on beaches every year - just in Cornwall and not including the ones which are swept out into the sea.
Why do I feel so impassioned about this?
Because I believe we have a responsibility to the planet we live in.
You don’t need to be a Christian to believe we have this responsibility.
For me, I believe I was created by the same God who created this world and as such if he loves me (as I spoke about previously) then he loves this planet and he wants us to look after it. You don’t need to look hard in the Bible for scripture relating to our stewardship of the planet (Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 8).
However, it is easy to see that ‘environmental stewardship’ is not something Christians claim for their own.
Whether you believe the world was brought into being by the word of a ‘Creator God’ or burst into life from a big bang, or whether you believe in ‘Mother Nature’ or we are all here by sheer happenstance I think most people find it hard to come up with reasonable points to say we don’t have some level of responsibility to not be wasteful with our planet and to not look after it.
I’d hope those reading this are not the kind who buy a tent and abandon it in a field or leave a body board on the beach for someone else to pick up but there is always something more we can do, be it recycle, reuse or upcycle; to find new ways to limit our packaging, remember our bags when we go shopping (something I awful at) or make sure when we put our rubbish out we cover it up so it doesn’t get attacked by seagulls and scattered across our roads.
Until next time.
Lydia Remick (LLM – Reader)
I am fearfully and wonderfully made! That’s not me being egotistical, that’s me reminding myself. You see, we live in a world that is always telling us we are not good enough, unless you listen to L’Oreal who tell you ‘you’re worth it’. However, even this is usually while trying to sell you something to make you look better than you already do, because you are worth it, but not good enough as you are.
One thing I have struggled with my whole life is being good enough, being worth it. That’s why I need to remind myself constantly: I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Society has been brain washed into thinking we need to be critical of ourselves. The Huffington Post recently posted an article about the activist Feminista Jones, looking at the reaction she received on Twitter when she suggested that women should agree with compliments men gave them in the street – the kind of cat calls many women have to endure. According to the article, if a woman responds ‘yes, I know’ to a compliment such as ‘you look nice’ it doesn’t go down well and it comes down to the expectation that we should show no self-appreciation. But why? I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
On Easter Day Rev Jeremy Putnam pointed out that the chance of each one of us existing is 1 in 102,685,000. The Buddhist version of ‘this precious incarnation’ is this: imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there was exactly one turtle in all of the oceans, swimming underwater somewhere. The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water right in the middle of that life preserver. On one try.1 No matter how you look at it, the fact that you, yes you, are here on this earth right now is nothing short of a miracle.
The Bible tells us we are not an accident, a random act but something planned out by God the Father, God the Creator. The one who took time to put each star in its place also planned on you being born at the time you were, and for you to be here on this earth. With the current rise in awareness of mental health issues, this is really important to understand. For when we remember that we are not here by random but carefully ‘knit together’ and ‘formed’ by the Creator of the Universe we know we have a purpose. These words come from a Psalm written by King David (Psalm 139). It talks of God knowing us inside and out. Knowing when we sit and when we sleep. Knowing our every thought. This is because he created us. He knows us and wants us to know him.
I don’t think I will ever fully comprehend the magnificence of it, but it is what I turn back to whenever I hit a low. This is why when I state I am fearfully and wonderfully made I’m not throwing my ego around, but reminding myself that I’m not a random act of the world, but planned, loved and wanted by God.
The challenge is to live like it.
A collection of thoughts and reflections from the people of All Saints.