Vicar's Letter

 

VERSE OF 2018:

 

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city”

Jeremiah 29:7 (New International Version)

 

Dear Friends,

 

As I write this, we’re getting a pleasantly mild September, which I for one am enjoying very much.  But this summer was a bit much for many of us, wasn’t it? 

 

The heatwave, with near-record temperatures in many large parts of the globe, was further evidence of something our scientists have been doing their best to warn us about.  Human-produced ‘greenhouse gases’ are heating the planet, as seen in melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and more and more extreme weather events.  And our planet is showing the strain in many other ways too: insufficient clean water, poor air quality, animal and plant species extinction…

 

In the church calendar, September and early October – harvest festival season – is sometimes known as ‘Creationtide’, a time to reflect on God as Creator and Sustainer of all life. God loves the world (‘cosmos’) so much (John 3:16), referring to the entire universe. Do we share such love for God’s world, in our care for it?

 

Despite the environmental crisis, God has not given up on His world. We live in a broken world where our present experience is marked by suffering: ‘For the creation was subjected to frustration’ (Romans 8:20). With us, the creation groans in pain: ‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.’ (22). Like (most) childbirth pangs, this groaning comes with hope!  God promises the hope of a new heaven and earth, in a new harmony: ‘the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.’ (21). At the end of time, God will not simply start again, but renew the created order according to His glorious eternal purpose. Do read all of Romans 8:18-25 – or further! It’s very special.  And it means that we cannot just write off this present creation; rather, we should work with God for the day when he will make all things new. Living simply and generously, and trying not harm the environment by our choices, is a great way to show our faith.  We show our beliefs about this world partly by living simply and generously, and trying not to harm the environment by wrong choices. What is the next practical step for you and for me?

 

Yours truly,

Julian