Follow Jessica on Twitter @CrossAndLeaves or follow the Five Leaf Eco-Awards @fiveleafeco

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Earth Hour 2010 Speech by Christopher Golding

Here is the sermon from a beautiful Earth Hour service I attended at St Paul's Anglican Church Manuka, Canberra.

Gen 1 – 2.3
My heart sank as I read another news report. Another set of dire predictions, another set of human failures. I had sat down to read about the recent Copenhagen accord, and was attempting to get my head around what had happened: Who, what , when, how? I had so many questions. My eyes danced over the page:

Goals dropped, Copenhagen ends in failure        AND another Copenhagen limps to a ‘cowardly’ end 

My questions were met with disappointment and sadness. Ultimately it was then I truly understood that no mere human solution could be found to the immense challenges facing this planet.

Now it might seem strange then, that amidst my feelings of sadness, I found reason for hope: a hope found in the fact that we are not alone.

Despite the human failures so clearly visible; despite the complexities and challenges raised by climate change and global warming, we are given hope freely – - hope that is found in the creative work of God.

Tonight we participate in that hope. During Earth Hour, over 1billion people, 4000 cities and 88 countries tonight proclaim as one:
We care for the created order and we can make a difference!

That we stand together is no accident. Tonight the ever-present Spirit of God unites people around the world for a common purpose; the preservation of the earth. The Christian Scriptures shared with us this evening, testify to this common purpose. These Scriptures reveal God as a God of creation, a God of hope, a God of empowerment.

In the beginning - GOD. In the beginning - darkness and chaos. In the beginning the Spirit, moving over the waters like an ever-present wind. And then: God speaks. God’s word, God’s breath, speaks into darkness and chaos, the creative Spirit is summoned. Light and hope are called forth into being.

God’s creative action is God’s word. God is identified as the creative God who gives the creative word freely and purposefully. Action and creative result are one and cannot be separated.

In the rhythmic narrative that follows, God’s creative being is expressed over and over again through God’s speech. God gives new life again and again in a self-giving action of creative love. God again and again endorses and affirms creation freely given: and God saw that it was good.

The creative speech continues, and we see God’s self-giving in a way that is almost unimaginable. The Creator God of Father and Spirit gives of themselves saying:

Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness. 

Human beings are created and empowered in one life-giving breath. Fashioned and made in the image of God. God’s self is again freely given, but here, in a unique and special way. The biblical narrative repeats this for emphasis and says:
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Of course, we are not made gods, but here God gives us God’s very image, God’s very likeness.
God blesses humankind, empowering them, and endorsing them.

However there is something more: God links the unique power and position of humanity to unique responsibilities, and unique tasks.

Humanity is told to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. Sadly, the original meaning of these words has often been mistaken. Here the original Hebrew expresses complex and unique meaning.

Kabas, translated “subdue”, focuses on the natural earth, on cultivation and production. Here subdue refers to development in and of the creative order, not domination. God gives humanity the responsibility for the soil of the earth for the benefit of the whole created order.

Rada, translated “dominion”, must be understood in terms of caregiving, even nurturing, not exploitation. God gives humanity the responsibility of being loving leaders and faithfully stewards of the earth for the benefit of all created things.

Here the unique power given to humankind cannot be separated from our specifically God-given responsibility. Human beings are called by God’s word to participate in God’s creation. Humanity is called to give freely to the world, giving it space, and enabling its fullest possible potential.

Made in the image of God, human beings are called to relate to the nonhuman as God relates to them. God gives and God creates purposefully and lovingly; God calls us to do the same.

Tonight we are united in hope. In the aftermath of Copenhagen, we stand in the shadow of human failure but in the light of God’s unending love.
Tonight we are reminded that we do not fight for this planet alone.
Tonight we are reminded of the unifying and creative power of the Spirit. Tonight we are reminded that we are made in the image of God, uniquely created as part of God’s self-giving love.
We see that in this empowering love we are given the supreme responsibility, to be stewards of this beautiful earth and to care for all creation.
In this responsibility we are called not just to action, we are called to embrace the very selves we have been created to be.
We are called to live and to pray not out of despair, but out of hope: to think, act and exist as beacons of God’s light in the world.
Let us embrace our calling, unified by the Spirit, empowered in our likeness of God, and sustained by God’s generous and ultimately victorious love. For in this - our calling - we can and we will make a difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+