This week we have a guest blog from Sue Munro. It seems appropriate to share this blog this week as on Saturday it is Earth Hour and this week, while the mainstream news cycles have been distracted by frivolities, the IPCC released its sobering Synthesis Report on the state of play with climate change.
God the Creator and Healer
‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Genesis 1:1
‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1:31
God’s creation has always been a mind-blowing thing of wonder to me. Every creature and plant is a miracle in itself and the sheer complexity of the connections between them and between the environmental systems that support them has always provided endless fascination for me. Our tiny planet is just one, floating in an unimaginable universe full of many galaxies, containing many solar systems, containing many other planets…
‘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
‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.’ Romans 1:20
I have always seen the creation as a reflection of the creator. The Lord made all this to provide all that we need and then made us stewards of it too. What an amazing gift!
‘’Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.’ Ezekiel 34:2-3
Why then have we made such a hash of looking after God’s gift to us? Society is finally waking up to the fact we are in a climate and a biodiversity emergency. Having worked in nature conservation for over 25 years I am pleased that society is waking up, but immensely frustrated it has taken so long.
I believe part of the answer to this question is modern urban life – the predominantly indoor, virtual lives we now lead – a far cry from the outdoor existence I had growing up in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. This has led to so many people being totally disconnected from nature. Many are blind to nature or see it only as a resource to profit from and therefore have never seen the reflection of the creator through it. Who gives a second thought to where our food comes from or how it is produced? Who even makes the connection between the clothes we buy and nature, or the electric tariff we are on, or where all the rubbish we generate ends up? We are so removed from nature as a society that we have little concept of what impact we are having as individuals on the planet – our life support system in this universe. By reconnecting people to nature, they may come to know God the creator.
A third crisis is upon us– a mental health emergency. It was bad before lockdown and the pandemic has certainly not helped that situation. There is no doubt in my mind that modern living is causing chronic stress and anxiety and eco-anxiety is a very real thing. Whilst nature is in crisis, I also believe nature is part of the solution. God the creator is also God the healer. Science is playing catch-up on ancient wisdom that the active ingredients in herbal remedies can provide medicine and simply being in nature is good for our health and mental wellbeing. By reconnecting people to nature, they may come to know God the healer.
So, what can we do as Christians? Spend some time in nature and reflect on the goodness of God. Receive his healing from chronic stress or anxiety by taking regular time out in nature. Consider our own impact on God’s creation. Our day-to-day choices in life do have an impact and collectively we can make a real difference by making the right choices. Are the things we buy necessary? Are they from a sustainable source? This Earth Hour (Saturday 25 March from 8.30pm to 9.30pm) why not consider how we can better embrace the stewardship role God has given us and give thanks to God the creator, our healer and provider for all he has given us?