The account of creation in Genesis chapter 1 contains the refrain that ‘God saw that it was good’, as God makes the land, sea, plants and people. As humankind is created ‘in the image’ and ‘likeness’ of God, we are blessed and given responsibility for the stewardship of the earth. In the image of the one who creates out of love, we are to care in the same way.
For those of us who seek to follow Jesus Christ, who was in the beginning with God and is the one through whom all things came into being (John 1), this sets the starting point for our engagement with creation and the climate.
Creation and climate both feature significantly elsewhere in this week’s Bulletin as we prepare for COP26 and look to how we can work together to tackle the climate crisis. While so much of the discussion comes from a perspective of emergency, crisis, scarcity, and indeed fear, our Christian perspective begins with blessing, recognising that what God has made was made to be good and to be enjoyed. This is something that has, I believe, the potential to reframe the debate and to deepen our commitment to make a difference as we seek to rise to the undoubted challenge.
The climate crisis is both real and urgent, there is no denying it and the evidence is all around us. As St Augustine commented, ‘We do not come to God by navigation but by love’. We come, I believe, to the proper care for our environment not by fear alone, but equally by love – love of the creation made by the God of love. This is a truth that can make our heart sing and join our voices with the Psalmist to proclaim that ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’ (Psalm 24) such that making the changes to the way we live becomes not a burden but a blessing and a liberation.
Jesus, the Word made flesh who was in the beginning with God, promises an abundance of life and lived in the abundance of creation. This life we are given, with its care for creation, is thus both a joy to live and a joy to share.