Category: Uncategorized

Promise

As we come to the end of the school year, and our term of looking at the creation and stewardship of the earth, we are looking at God’s promise and how that is reflected in his creation.

When I got married I made certain promises to my husband, those promises were made in front of our friends, our family, and God. Those promises were then demonstrated through the giving of rings. Similarly when I was a brownie I made a promise, this was demonstrated through a uniform and a badge. The ring and the uniform stood as reminders of the promises I had made.

After the flood in the book of Genesis God promises that he will never do anything like that again, and then the rainbow appears. The rainbow is a reminder of God’s grace but also of Gods promise.

The Bible is full of promises, promises made by God and fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross. Martin Luther the sixteenth century theologian said “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime”. Martin Luther is encouraging us to see the beauty of God in all things around us. Not just just that God made things beautiful but that when we look around we should be reminded of the promise of God loving us so much and giving us eternal life.

Prayer: Dear God thank you for the promises that you made and fulfilled in the Bible so that we know that all the promises you make will be fulfilled. Help us to see the fulfilment of those promises in the world around us. Amen.

Challenge: how can you see the promise is the resurrection in nature?

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How can we take better care of our world today?

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Over the last term we have been considering the concept of stewardship and the role that we have to play within that. We have considered a number of things, but I guess that question is… is it all just a load of words? What is the use of the words if we’re not going to put those words into action. Our thought for the week comes from Wendell Berry who says “We do not need to plan or devise a “world of the future”; if we take care of the world of the present, the future will have received full justice from us” suggesting that if we take care of the world that we are living in today, then the future world will benefit from that care. We don’t need to come up with cunning and amazing plans, we just need to care for the world we are living in.

The big question really is are we actually doing that or are we just good at talking the talk, and making people aware, that we know what the problem is and how to solve it, whilst actually not doing a huge amount about it at all?

Many people have the misconception that Christianity is all about following rules, but actually that is possibly the furthest from the truth that you could get. People do things that are wrong, those things may be thoughts, they may be actions, but they are things that separate humans from God and are known as Sin. So… humans are separated from God, but God had a plan, and God came to earth and made himself human in the form of Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, he had done nothing wrong, and he died in our place, which means we can be reunited with God. Therefore no matter what we do, what we think, we can be forgiven if we ask for it. Christians don’t do the things they do because they have to, they do the things they do because they choose to. It is a response to what God has done for them. In the letter of James he writes about faith being dead without deeds; and that although there is not necessarily any specific instruction or guidance of how people should act it seems clear that it is not sufficient to say that you have faith. James even says that people should be able to see faith through deeds.

This then could be reflected in our focus on the environment. People should be able to see that we know what the issue and the solution is with the environment by our actions, we shouldn’t need to say anything. Our actions will then be passed on to other people and the result of our actions will be appreciated by the future generations.

Prayer: Father God, we thank you for what you did for us, so that we can be reconciled with you. Help us to live our lives to reflect that love in our actions, and to love our environment today for future generations. Amen

Challenge: How can you take better of care of the world today? Think of one change you could make.

Peace

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Quite often when we think of the word peace we think of quiet but there are two definitions. The first one is freedom from disturbance; and the second is a state or period in which there is no war. Considering we have been looking at the environment this term and our role within it I think it is the first definition we need to be using this week.

We started off by looking at the belief of God creating the world and everything in it. When it was created it was perfect, everything was working together perfectly and it was working at peace. But then… humans got involved… they started making choices… those choices had consequences. Not only did we break the peace between humans, but also in the environment.

Our thought for the week comes from Ellen DeGeneres who says

“If we’re destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there’s got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter.”

Humans are the ones who have brought disturbance into the world, but humans also have the power to bring peace. God loves us so much that He has given us free will, we have to use that free will to make wise choices to bring peace for us, the environment, and future generations.

Challenge: What choices can you make to bring peace to the environment?

Prayer: Father God thank you for creating the perfect world for us, we are sorry for decisions we have made that have brought damage in to the world. Help us to make decisions that will bring peace in to the world, for us, the environment, and future generations. Amen.

Love

What does the word love mean to you? I am sure I have ranted many a time how frustrated I get by the word love in the English language. This is purely because we have one word for it, when there are so many different types of it. Friendship love, family love, romantic love, sacrificial love etc… but we just say love. Mini rant over. However, I did get a bit confused as to how to relate love to the overriding idea of stewardship and the environment that we are looking at this term.

We could have looked at how we love the the environment but that is very similar to stewardship and respect which we have already looked at. John Calvin said

“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice”

Matthew 10:29 says “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”

Both of these take us back to the creation of the world, and it’s creator – God. Not only does every single thing on this earth have a purpose, a place in the wider eco-system, but it is also beautiful as well. God did not have to create a world in the first place, but He did, His first act of love. He didn’t have to make that world beautiful but He did, his second act of love. He didn’t have to create humans to be able to enjoy the planet, and to be put in charge of it, and yet he did, his third act of love. He didn’t have to continue to be a part of the world he created he could have just let us all get on with it, but he did, his continuing act of love.

The entirety of the natural world, including us are a result of God’s love. The question is how do we respond to that act of love. Do we respond as good stewards acting in respect of what has been given to us, or do we act in selfishness? I guess the greatest act of love is that we are given free will to make that choice. What will you choose?

Challenge: How can you see God’s love reflected in the natural world around you?

Prayer: Father God, thank you that you that chose to create the earth and you chose to create us. Help us to respond to your acts of love appropriately in our every day lives. Amen.

Respect

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If you are given something that belongs to someone else how do you treat it? I imagine you would care for it, look after it, possibly find out more about it. In Psalm 24:1-2 we are told

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.”

As we continue to look at Christian teaching of stewardship of the environment, this verse reminds us that as the creator and sustainer of the universe it all belongs to God. Therefore we should care for it, look after it, and our theme for this week – treat it with respect. But what does it mean to respect something? Some synonyms for respect are: consideration; thoughtfulness; attentiveness. I think these three words show what it means to respect the world in which we live, and is what George Washington Carver was thinking about when he said “Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”

We are often to respect people, but I find that I gain respect for people as I find out more about them. I always have a general respect for all individuals and try to treat everyone with respect, but the more I get to know people and learn about them the more respect I have for them. It is the same for the world in which we live. We can easily find pictures of it’s beauty, watch videos of amazing scenes etc, but it is not until we actually spend time in it, experiencing it that we will develop more of a respect of for it. And if you listen and look carefully, you may well see or hear God, continuing to work in His creation.

Challenge: Go for a walk in a park/wood away from the streets what do you notice

Prayer: Father God, thank you for your creation, and that you allow us to experience it. Help us to seek you and experience you in your creation. Amen.

Stewardship

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When you catch a plane what do you see the role of the steward/stewardess to be? Do you expect them to tell you exactly what to do, force you to do certain things, or to give you some guidance and ensure that you get to the other end of the journey safely and successfully? Giving support as and when you need it?

In Genesis 1:28 we come to the end of the first creation story, God had created humans in his image and then… God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God put humans in charge of the world he created. When you are put in charge of something how do you respond?

Is there a difference between the way that you treat something that you are looking after and something that you own? Maybe we think more carefully about the way we treat it if we know we have to give it back afterwards.

Pope John Paul II said “The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”

This week we are looking at the concept of stewardship, this is the belief that the world is a gift from God, and that we are stewards of the earth. Last we spoke about the creation of the earth and the beauty in it. However, what have we done to the world, what state is it in? In the same way that the role of an air steward is to ensure that the passengers are taken care of and get to their destination safely, we are called to look after the earth and, as John Paul II says ensure it is available for use by future generations.

How can we do this? It’s difficult to get your head around if you think about the whole world. BUT if you think about what you can do in your day to day life then it’s simple things such as recycling paper, taking your own bags to shops, not using plastic straws, turning off lights, not leaving things on stand-by. If all of us do these things in our day to day lives then everyone together can make a difference.

Challenge: Think about your everyday life – are there changes you can make that may make you a better steward of the earth?

Prayer: Father God, thank you for giving us the gift of the earth. Help us to enjoy what we have been given and be stewards of the earth, to look after it for those who come after us. Amen

Creation

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This half term we are looking at the concept of stewardship – looking after God’s planet – and why it’s important. The themes and thoughts for the term have been put together by our environmental group along with Mrs Muller.

This week we are considering the concept of creation. The Bible starts with the sentence “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Although there may be a variety of different ways of looking at the creation story within Genesis (which we’re not going to go in to now) but all Christians agree that God created the world.

I feel very privileged to live so close to the sea, but also so close to the country, although even growing up, yes I was in a big city in the middle of the country (Birmingham) but we had a huge country park just behind our house. I love nature, and I have to say that agree with Dante Algheiri from whom we get our thought for the week who says “Nature is the art of God”.

Have you ever had those moments when you have just had to stop in your tracks because the natural world surrounding you is just so amazing? It may be that it is completely beautiful and stunning, or it may be the way in which the natural world works.

Think about it, we need oxygen to survive, and we breathe out Carbon dioxide. Trees and plants require Carbon dioxide and give off Oxygen.

People have so many arguments about how the universe came in to being, that it takes us away from experiencing and appreciating the creation around us. The creation that each and everyone of us is a part of. Does it really matter exactly how the universe came in to existence? Or should we just focus on the belief that God created this world that we are a part of, that is amazing in so many ways. Over the next few weeks we will be looking at some of the ways in which it is amazing, but also the role that we have to play in looking after that creation as well.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for creating this beautiful world that we are a part of. Help us to appreciate it more, and to see your beauty in each and every thing. Amen.

Challenge: Take time to look around you and appreciate the natural world this week