Welcome to this morning's Worship service.
Worship today is led by Rev Christine Fox (also via Zoom and in church this week)
Our Zoom services are every other week and if you are not currently on our mailing list please contact Rev Christine: email@example.com
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God Bless x
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Rev Christine Fox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all those who have been part of putting together this weeks service.
Below you can find this weeks Message. Click here to find the whole worship sheet.
‘Greening the Lectionary’.
Today we are celebrating the beginnings of Eco-church journeys – Grangewood and Kingswood both attaining the bronze award. So this is one of the reasons that I chose for our reading to come from Genesis – the book of beginnings. And the beginning of all beginnings of course is creation.
The first chapter of Genesis is a vivid picture of all creation! And it is also a vivid description of the character of the Creator; the Source of all things, here named God, consciously making everything good. It is a story that was built up over hundreds of years, from the scientific reflection of the time on the big question of how things began, that the Israelites engaged in alongside the rest of the ancient near-Eastern nations. You may not think it scientific today, but focus on your own experience of feasting on the wonder and beauty of creation – the flowers the trees, the patterns of leaves, the vastness of the seas and the rich diversity of animal life… and the people!. And as you marvel at creation put yourself in the shoes of the ancients who also saw pattern and order and wanted to make some sense of it.
‘In the beginning – God created’ – and also the relationship between God and humans was begun. God commands the first people to rule over, subdue and to be fed by what God had created.
When we agonise over the islands of plastic in the seas and the pollution of the air and the devastation of forests and the throwing away of precious resources we might point to that Command of God to rule over and subdue the earth and say that is where some people have taken authority to wreak all this damage. But what if we saw a ton of pieces of plastic with our name on them floating in the sea? Since in the UK we produce around hundred kilos of plastic waste per person a year and only 9% of plastic waste is recycled even now, we are all realising that every one of us has misunderstood that command.
We know that God wants us to care for the earth and actually words like rule and subdue would be apt for early farmers - cultivating the ground would have been a difficult task; any of you who are gardeners know that shrubs and fruit bushes need to be cut back if they are to produce blossom and fruit the next year. Popular books like ‘Wilding’ speak of the hard work to enable land to return from barren cultivated monoculture to fruitful ‘rewilded’ diversity that supports wildlife too. Those words are not licenses to harm the earth but speak of the hard work needed on the part of humanity to work with what God has provided.
One of the songs chosen for us today has been going round my head – "God in his love for us lent us this planet”. And an image came to me – this planet is lent to us; how many of you have been lent a book or maybe a tool? How do you treat that book or tool, compared with one you own? I’m pretty sure you are more careful not to bend the pages of the book or put a coffee cup on it – or you take care to clean that tool well after use. At any moment the owner might ask for it back, or at least be wondering what state it’s in!
“God in his love for us lent us this planet”. God said let us make humans in our image – and then commanded human beings to care for creation. God – Father, Son and Spirit - has lent you their most treasured possession – how are you going to look after it? As believers in God we have at least three pointers for this task
First - the story of creation sets the whole theme of the purpose of God – all of creation is loved by God and provided for by God, so all of creation is set to benefit from God’s plan of restoration through Jesus, God the Son. This then is our pattern for carrying out the command to look after creation – to see creation as a whole. And then, second, to remember that all God’s children are sisters and brothers of one another and made in the image of God. That means we are to reflect God to the world – humans are to be as God would be to the non-human of creation. And then thirdly we are not to forget the seventh ‘day’ of creation…
A day of rest is an integral part of creation – so letting the land rest like sometimes leaving land fallow, and enabling people time off to enjoy the fruits of their work are vital for sustainable living. But also one day set aside to attend to God’s ordering of life – to acknowledge that God is the creator and provider – is perhaps more important than we often realise. Time set aside to develop a love for creation and for the Creator will help us to care more deeply for this planet that we have been lent.
So – be inspired by the creation story to see your part in the big picture; as a child of God be as God would be to creation; and give time to learn to love the Creator as well as creation - and don’t forget - God lent us this planet – God is the owner and cares about what condition we are keeping it in!