Sunday 19 September
Love God by caring for his creation
From Psalm 145
It is easy to use words, but our actions show whether our words are sincere or not.
Politicians often pledge solutions and money to tackle climate change and other things, but they do not always delivery on these pledges.
For Christians though, sincere intents and positive desires, ought to produce good and practical actions.
Last week in Psalm 104:35 we talked about the “environmental sinners” mentioned there. The trouble is that although we shout about Climate Change, Carbon Capture, pollution and extinction of plants and species these days, “environmental sinners” have existed throughout time – and I am not just talking about things like the Industrial Revolution – with smog filling many cities.
Let’s look at some in the scriptures:
"I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits & its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, & made my heritage an abomination."(Jeremiah 2:7)
"How long will the land lie parched & the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals & birds have perished." (Jeremiah 12:4)
"It will be made a wasteland, parched & desolate before me; the whole land will be laid waste because there is no one who cares." (Jeremiah 12:11)
"Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?" (Ezekiel 34:17-18)
"There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying & murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying." (Hosea 4:1-3)
The New Testament covers it too, but here is an example:
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." (Romans 8:22)
On a lighter note, the first Bible environmentalists group wrote up their book called NA-HUM and the second group moved it on further from there as they wrote Nahum either.
Of course, these verses show that being bad towards the environment has consequences – but I guess that is an obvious point.
An overarching verse in this series however is, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." (Genesis 2:15)
Working it means maintaining and managing it well and caring for it is both in the positive things like adding in nutrients and other things that are being stifled or have been removed in the past, and taking damage, invasive species out etc.
Farmers provide our food for us and use their skills to produce food of quality and price that in general we can afford.
However, do modern practices follow Biblical teaching as written in Leviticus 25:2-5 which says, "The land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and garner their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the Lord.... The land is to have a year of rest."
What about us and our food choices? Do we buy local to reduce the food miles and emissions? Do we go vegetarian and is that good or not? Some argue that cows produce loads of methane and that is bad, while others speak about all the vegetarian food that flies on planes from the other side of the world. How do we really know the truth, when there are always people pushing their own agenda’s?
Nevertheless, God is playing His part "The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.... The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." (Psalm 145:9, 13; 17f)
So surely, we must play our part too. I guess that is one of the reasons that we have to talk about these things. Talking together, with other churches, and with people in our community too.
We must not lose our primary purpose – to go and make disciples of all people, but to gain any kind of respect or credibility, we need to journey, build relationships, debate and discuss on topics that matter to others, and then over time, people will learn the other reasons we want to love and care for God’s world.
Let’s briefly visit Psalm 145
God is truly awesome and worthy of our best praise and adoration – we see many reasons in this Psalm. verse 3 begins to unpick God’s awesome nature and character by admitting that we cannot fathom all that He does or is.
What we do fathom about Him, we should pass on verse 5, and we should boast about His rich love, abundant grace, patience and compassion towards all His creatures and His nature is good verse 8,9.
So, this unimaginably awesome God who gives us breath and life, life in all its fullness acts lovingly towards His creation verse 19.
Surely it follows then that we really ought to love Him in our words & in our actions; caring for others and all that He has made, living frugally rather than wastefully encouraging the abuse of finite resources etc.
If it were not for the current restrictions and peoples’ fear, it would be an ideal day to chat and see what others think. And even better, if some could encourage us to act and work at showing we love our God and are committed to show we care for all that He has made.