‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.’ Genesis 1:31
We are in the midst of creation-tide. The period from the September 1st until the beginning of October, when in the Church of England we dedicate, amongst other things, our thoughts to God as creator, sustainer and giver of all life.
Our normal Harvest celebrations are curtailed this year due to the Covid virus. Yet this does not mean that we should not stop, pause and reflect upon the beauty of creation and indeed the very real and urgent question of our interaction with it.
I do wonder, given the current climate in which we find ourselves, just how good God would consider things to be now—after all, they were indeed ‘good’.
As I write, wild fires are currently consuming Oregon in the USA, the Antarctic is dumping billions of tonnes of ice into the ocean, pushing up sea levels, and millions of tonnes of plastic are floating in the Atlantic ocean. Nearer to home, communities are still trying to recover from past flooding events, and are bracing themselves for an uncertain future, as winter will soon be upon us.
As if climate change were not enough, the recent BBC programme by David Attenborough, ‘Extinction’, provided a stark warning as to the very real danger of species becoming extinct. There were signs of hope that if we act now, then we just might turn the very real tide of destruction of habitat and the extinction of various species. Not to forget the Covid-19 pandemic, whatever its cause, or the need to respect the species with which we co-habit this earth, and when we forget, a stark reminder, that we do so at our own peril.
I do not claim to be a virologist, climate specialist, zoologist, or indeed activist, but I would guess that rather like many of my school reports, God might just say in response to the current state of affairs, “could do better”. Creation is certainly hitting back.
So how should we respond? It is easy to feel overwhelmed; the problems are so large and varied and we are in the midst of a pandemic, after all! We might decide that we can shelve such consideration and arguably be justified in doing so. It’s all too much. Well, to do nothing is itself a response, but the reality is that we all should, and dare I say, must do something. The climate activist Greta Thunberg has reminded us that ‘no one is too small to make a difference’.
So, as we embrace creation-tide I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to do one thing in response to the very real crisis which faces us all. I’m not going to be prescriptive, but I have faith that we shall all do so, as an offering to God.
As I have said before, it takes many drips to make an ocean.
To finish with a Jewish Prayer.
How wonderful, O Lord, are the works of your hands!
The heavens declare your glory; the arch of sky displays your handiwork.
In your love you have given us the power to behold the beauty of your world
robed in all its splendour.
The sun and the stars, the valleys and hills,
the rivers and lakes all disclose your presence.
The roaring breakers of the seas tell of your awesome might;
the beasts of the field and the birds of the air speak of your wondrous will.
In your goodness you have made us able to hear the music of the world.
You are in our midst. A divine voice sings through all creation.
Keep praying, keep safe, keep well,