Saturday 7 March 2020 Cogitation 10 Loving and caring for the world we live in seems nigh hopeless. Still, for me, it’s utterly doable. My motivation to love and care comes from the Christian perspective of creation. It’s God’s world. God’s gift. God’s desire that we live joyfully, gently, co-creatively on the earth. For that I take Charles Wesley’s 1747 hymn to heart, “Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down, fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown.”
The Church of England has set #Live Lent: Care for God’s Creation, as the Lent campaign for 2020, “to help broaden your view of Christ’s redeeming mission–a mission Christians are called to share. With weekly themes and prayers shaped around the first Genesis account of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created.” For free daily emails go to http://www.chpublishing.co.uk/features/live-lent.
The Week 1 guide, Crisis, What Crisis? names the ecological crisis as being made up of “Climate change, sea level rise, migration; Species extinction/habitat destruction/loss of biodiversity; Waste/pollution; Land degradation (deforestation, soil erosion, urbanization); Population growth; Shortage of resources–food, energy, land, water etc.” Given such overwhelming challenges, how can I really love and care for creation better?
Thankfully, I’m not alone. Many people past and present are tending gardens, vineyards and flocks. We’ve got big wellies, big boots, big shoes to fill. Last Sunday we joined the first of five Lent walks organized by the Parishes of St Anta and All Saints, Carbis Bay, & St Uny, Lelant.
Since the UK just experienced the wettest February on record, the footpaths we walked Sunday obliged us to slip and slide through stretches of standing water, sogginess and mud. The conditions were nothing, though, to stop seven intrepid walkers from mindfully walking in God’s creation. We paused along the way for Scripture, prayer and reflection, on the theme, Crisis, What Crisis?
Love kindly and walk humbly
A matter of the heart
Crisis, What Crisis? reflection: “The real crisis is not in the environment but in the human heart. The fundamental problem is to be found not outside but inside ourselves, not in the ecosystem but in the way we think The root cause of all our difficulties consists in human selfishness and human sin. What is asked of us is not greater technological skill but deeper repentance, metanoia, in the literal sense of the Greek word, which signifies ‘change of mind.” The root cause of our environmental sin lies in our self-centeredness and in the mistaken order of values, which we inherit and accept without any critical evaluation. We need a new way of thinking about our own selves, about our relationship with the world and with God. Without this revolutionary ‘change of mind’, all our conservation projects, however well-intentioned, will remain ultimately ineffective. For we shall be dealing only with the symptoms , not with the cause.” From an address by Patriarch Bartholemew I of the Orthodox Church, 2002.
Crisis, What Crisis? end of walk prayer: “Against the dark background of infinite space, our planet appears so small, so vulnerable. Guide us, dear God, that we may cherish your earth and the life it sustains with the best of our energies, intelligence, imagination and love. And may your great, vulnerable life-giving Spirit guide our every coming and our every going that we may act justly, love kindly and walk humbly in the company and friendship of you our God, now and always. Amen.”
Thursday’s partial day in
We walked through Steeple Woods, formerly filled with mine shafts, now a regeneration site with trees and paths surrounding Knill’s Monument, continuing on to Una Kitchen for pea soup and pizza. The week has been wet and windy, sunny times, too, bracing out, cozy in. Sunscreen–and hand sanitizer–always at the ready.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great, You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment . . . You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken . . . I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being . . . May my mediation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.” Psalm 104
Massive cloud, strengthening wind over the Atlantic, unsettled weather, showers, forecast for next week. Boots on! Room enough for being “lost in wonder, love, and praise.” Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Creation, both a blessing and a quiet call to love and care for it better.