As I write this parish letter, we are in the midst of two weeks of action by Extinction Rebellion drawing our attention to the concerns of climate change. Following Greta Thunberg’s rousing speech to the UN and the various climate strikes undertaken by young people around the world, we are becoming more aware of the dangers of neglecting such an important matter. Whether we are young and passionate about this issue or one of Boris’s so-called ‘crusties’ and equally passionate, it seems to me that we are all called to be passionate about caring for the world God has made, and which He has entrusted to our care.
The fifth Mark of Mission calls for us to ‘Treasure the Earth’ or, to ‘safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’. Here in Bath and Wells we focus on placing mission and evangelism at the heart of all we do. This often means we highlight the story of Jesus and the opportunity for us to know God’s grace and forgiveness in personal ways. All really important for us to know how much we are loved. However, mission and evangelism isn’t just limited to those people we live amongst in the present day. St Paul speaks about how our salvation and that of the world or creation are bound up together….
‘The created universe is waiting with eager expectation for God’s children to be revealed. It was made subject to frustration, not of its own choice but by the will of him who subjected it, yet with the hope that the universe itself is to be freed from the shackles of mortality and is to enter upon the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ Romans 8: 19-21
Sometimes I hear people dismiss concerns for the world and its future as being insignificant in the light of the eternal hope we have in Christ. I think this misguided and often selfish. It’s a bit like the attitude which says, ‘well as long as it sees me out!…’
This month you have the opportunity to get involved yourself. On Monday 18th November at Wells Cathedral and in Christ Church, Weston-Super-Mare on Saturday November 9th, there are opportunities for you to find out more. Look on the diocesan website.
And it’s not just for individual action, we as a diocese want to encourage churches to look at how they might become Eco churches in the way in which they respond in worship, theological reflection, make practical changes to their carbon footprint, and in bringing about that freedom for the whole universe to be sustained and renewed.
What might you get passionate about and do?
The Right Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton