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Friday, October 23, 2009

Making your bus ride to church an act of worship

It takes me an hour and a half each way, on two buses, to get to church on Sundays. For most people, this probably seems like a waste of valuable time. We would rather drive to church than go through the trial of catching a bus there. Yet we know that for the sake of the environment we should be catching public transport, riding a bicycle or walking to church. In the times when your church was chosen by the fact it was the closest one to you, it was much easier to take these options. These days, many people chose their church community based on the place that has the best facilities for them, or makes them feel most welcome, which can mean traveling several suburbs away to attend church. This means that the environmental impact of the congregation traveling to church on Sundays begins to give the church quite a large ecological footprint.

If we are going to reduce this footprint however, we need to help people face the prospect of their local bus, tram or train service. I decided to make my trip to and from church part of the service itself. By taking the bus, I am worshiping God by caring for creation; but I can also use the time to deepen my relationship with the creator. In our busy schedules today, it can be hard to find time to spend with God, which is why I find this time on the bus very useful. On the bus, I feel less compelled to be 'busy', because I am actually already achieving something by sitting there. This gives me the time to find some peace with God. Here are some of my favourite things to do on the bus:

1. Pray for myself, my family, my work, the world, the environment, endangered species
2. Read my Green Bible
3. Listen to my local Christian radio station (try not to sing out loud)
4. Read a devotional or a Christian book
5. Watch God's creation go past and pray for it
6. Pray for the people in the bus, and those we pass in the street
7. Listen to an audio version of the Bible
8. Catch up on the reflections from my church newsletter for the week
9. Look up this week's Bible reading and read the chapters around it
10.Think about the sermon you have just heard and think about how you can apply what you learnt to your own life

Use these techniques to make the bus ride part of the service and the ride will be over before you know it. You might even wish it was longer. If you do, try catching the bus to work using the same technique.

Getting closer to God and saving the planet - what do you have to lose?

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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+