'Our Common Home' - for treasuring or trashing?
During this month, we would normally be holding many of our harvest gatherings. Harvest-time encourages us to cultivate an 'attitude of gratitude', as we give thanks for the fruits of the earth, and for those who work to gather in the harvest. Harvest also invites us to think about how our gratitude can be expressed in the way we treat the natural world - how we might treasure it, rather than trash it.
It is surely no coincidence that during the lockdown nature has thrived, as we humans became less active. Programmes like Springwatch highlighted how wildlife has been able to flourish this year, and during the lockdown many of us have come to appreciate - and to be refreshed by - the natural world around us. Maybe this has also reminded us that we are part of creation, and share this planet earth - 'our common home', as Pope Francis has called it in his encyclical Laudato Si - with all other creatures. We have a fundamental connection to the planet on which we live - it is part of us, just as we are part of it. What we do affects other species, for good or ill. And this in turn affects us. For example, it is thought likely that trade in wild animals lay behind the zoonotic transmission (animal-to-human) of the coronavirus.
September is being marked by a growing number of churches as the Season of Creation (https://seasonofcreation.org) - a time to reflect on how we might find better ways of caring for this planet. One of the five Anglican marks of mission is "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth." This reminds us that those who follow Jesus Christ are called to care for this world because it is God's world - not ours - the world Jesus came to save by overcoming the power of sin and death, and by opening the way to new life with God.
There are so many ways in which you and I can make a difference in caring for our world - both as individuals, and together. For example, the Diocese of Leicester is committed to becoming an Eco Diocese, and further information is available on the Diocesan website - https://www.leicester.anglican.org/about-us/social-responsibility/eco-diocese/ - including details of how to become an Eco Church, and how to join in Eco Action. In this area, the Greening Framland group have been meeting over the past couple of years to explore practical ways in which we can make a difference in our local villages and churches. If you would like to be included in the mailing list for future events, please do let me know.
With all good wishes,
(John Barr, Rector)