Sunday, 21 November 2021


Climate change has obviously come to the fore with the recent COP26 conference, with national pledges, campaign groups etc. At our level we should seriously ask is it just for governments or other 'important people' to make their 'big decisions', or is it something for each and every one of us to think how we are living. What decisions can we take?

As followers of Jesus we are acutely aware of issues of poverty, injustice, violence and brokenness. Yet do these have anything to do with climate change (or vice versa?). For Christian aid agencies the answer is clearly 'yes'. All these issues are inter-connected, and require us to make an informed Spirit led response. The reality of western consumption hits hardest in poorer communities in other parts of the world, with clear links between them. As we read in the Bible God's concern for the poor, for coming against injustice, the modern phenomena of climate change must be factored in.

So we start with lament. Acknowledging the complex web of brokenness that we are a part of, and contribute to by our own lives. In John's first letter he writes (chapter 3 verses 16 - 18) of knowing what love is through the lens of Jesus: he laid down his life for us. This sets a principle: as followers we too ought to be prepared to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. John gets practical: if we have stuff, and see someone else in need ... and yet have no pity, then the love of God is not properly operational in our lives. Practical action should flow.

I wonder if we can legitimately re-read that phrase 'if anyone has material possessions ...'? Could we read it as:

  • If anyone has the ability to consume the world's resources, sees someone in need, but has no pity ...
  • If anyone is unsustainably consuming the world's resources, sees someone in need, but has no pity ...
  • If anyone is chucking out pollution through their life actions, sees someone in need, but has no pity ...
  • If anyone is contributing to the greenhouse-gas-thing, sees someone in need, but has no pity ...

Okay - for sure I'm stretching the original Greek words way to far! Yet doesn't the original convey a principle that chimes with the phrases above? Our actions count, and is inextricably connected to the love of God truly flowing through our lives. We are called to care for creation ... we are called to love.

Jesus laid down his life for us. What might we 'lay down' in order to care for others and the creation around us. Start small and accumulate - if many many people do the same, the combined effect can be very large indeed. Fortunately organisations are there to help, e.g. Tearfund with their Climate Emergency Toolkit.

Remember that God's plan is to renew creation as well as His people. Creation awaits that day, and looks forward tor rejoicing and singing with us. Lets start that trajectory now by caring and truly loving.

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