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Monday, November 2, 2009

Do not lay a chisel upon it

Reading: Exodus 20:25

In this reading, God instructs Moses that if he wishes to make an altar to the Lord, it must be made of natural stone, which has not been touched by a chisel. It is interesting that God makes this distinction. He implies that He wishes to be worshiped, not with what is man-made but with that which He has created himself. Obviously God doesn't think that humans are needed to improve things to make them worthy of Him. Perhaps instead of all our magnificent churches and cathedrals we should have adopted the approach of the outdoor cathedrals - just a cross, some seats and the surroundings of nature or a forest.

God doesn't ask for stones cut neatly into squares to build the perfect altar, he asks for natural stones- blemishes and all. Nature can be untidy at times, but God loves it the way it is. In the same way, people in Australia need to learn to love our untidy looking Eucalypt forests instead of longing for the green rolling hills and manicured parks of England. If God wanted those things here they would have been created here. Instead, God loves our rugged sunburnt country and we need to learn to fit our culture and values into this landscape and not make the same mistakes our ancestors made when they treated this country as though it were England - and suffered the consequences in drought, salinity and introduced pests.

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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+