Creation groans and we are called to action
At the Governing Body in April, the Church in Wales passed two important motions: one declaring a Climate Emergency, the other calling for 2022 to be a year of scriptural literacy. These two motions are inextricably linked, writes Bishop Joanna
As we open the Bible, the first words of Genesis are, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Right at the start of the Hebrew scriptures we are reminded whose creation this is. As it says in Psalm 24, “The Earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof.” At the creation of human beings, God said, “Let them have dominion...”. We became stewards not owners.
If we take our Christian faith seriously, we realise that we shall have to give an account of how we have exercised our stewardship. Jesus told a brilliant parable about it and it is recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. We know it as the parable of the talents. It’s in Matthew 25: 14-30. Three servants are entrusted with different amounts of their master’s property to look after when he goes away. When he comes back, the master asks for his property to be returned and praises those of his servants who have made something with what they have been given, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” This is not about sin and forgiveness. This is about the next step.
We are assured that, by the death and resurrection of Jesus, when we confess our sins in faith, we receive forgiveness, we are filled with the Spirit of grace, that we might learn to live lives fit for the kingdom that is to come. This is not about trying to justify ourselves, which is both unnecessary and impossible, but learning how to be what we have been created and recreated to be. As we learn to steward the creation that is before us, we not only obey, by God’s grace, the original creation ordinance, but learn how to be fit for what, we believe, is to come.
Scripture tells us the earth is the Lord’s. Science tells us we have only 30 years left to ensure it is habitable for our grandchildren. The more we can do in the next ten years, the better. Let’s become an Eco Diocese, let’s help each other to change our habits, let’s do it now.