You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
This week I offer a verse from the Old Testament for you to think about. ‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.’ Genesis 2:15 Look at those words again ‘to cultivate and care for it.’
Whilst the Garden of Eden refers to the whole of God’s creation, even a quick look from the kitchen window will show what a wonderful gardener God is! Each year, at the right season, the plants flourish bringing beautiful flowers for us to enjoy, or wholesome fruit and vegetables for us to eat. God’s boundless bounty provides for all our needs and man was settled in God’s creation to take care of it. Thus we all have a moral responsibility to do just that. In fact, we have a twofold responsibility.
As I have said before, climate change is a reality; the world’s resources are finite. Our planet is in very grave danger, largely due to our greed, overconsumption, and reckless exploitation of those limited resources. Of course, the very nature of greed is that there is never enough, yet as St Francis of Assisi pointed out nearly nine hundred years ago, there is enough; enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed. So we must all make choices and decisions about what action we need to take. Should we use up the dwindling and polluting stock of fossil fuel, for example, when renewable energy is not only cheaper but a good deal less harmful to the planet? It seems a vast majority of countries in the world think so. Would we not be wiser to heed the words of an unknown speaker: “live simply so that others may simply live”?
But we must also remember that caring for creation includes not only caring for the environment, the plants and animals, but also for one another. The decisions we take regarding care of our planet will affect the lives of our grandchildren and great grandchildren; but can you imagine a world in which everybody treated one another with equal respect and dignity regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, appearance or social class? Would that not be much better place in which to live? And man is capable of showing care and compassion in the face of terrible tragedy; a love for one’s neighbour as I illustrated last week.
Remember that: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ John 3:16 KJV. This surely is the central point: God loves the world, His Creation – He would not have sent His Son otherwise. Thus the whole of creation, people, animals and indeed the earth itself are to be respected for their own sake. I believe that we are called to show our love for God and care for His creation in our everyday lives and actions.
Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words!
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years