The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Calling all those who love the earth

One world weekThe Norwich Diocesan Environmental Officer, Rev Philip Young asks us to view Jesus’ call to love one another as extending to all of God’s creation and all of God’s creatures.

I believe that God has created a beautiful earth and that it is full of his/her beautiful creatures.

I just love those TV programmes that celebrate the amazing diversity of all God's creatures on this earth.

I love Saint Francis for writing 'The Canticle of the Creatures' for I see in God's creation my brothers and sisters. Brother sun and sister moon, brother fire and sister water, and of course Mother Earth and all her creatures.

Somehow we have become separated from that deep connection with the natural world. Native people are very aware of their deep connection with the earth. Native Americans and aboriginal people in Australia treat the natural world as sacred.

Western capitalism is disrespectful of the earth. If we see everything in terms of how much we can exploit the world for our own ends, then we cease to love and care for the natural world.

We must stop plundering the earth and start to love it. The earth is literally like our mother, in that it sustains and nourishes us. If we mistreat and beat up our mother, then our mother will cease to be able to give us life. When Mother Earth dies then all her children die with her.

I call on all people to stop crucifying Mother Earth. The story of Jesus and his death and resurrection could not be more relevant to our present age.

The creation and all that God has made is good. Jesus came into the world to show us God's goodness and love. Jesus came to show us that the selfish principle of looking after 'Number One' is a road to destruction.

Jesus showed us that in order to live fully we must first die to all that is selfish in us. We must learn to live for others and to care for them. That care includes caring for all God's creation and all God's creatures. When Jesus says love one another, I believe he is wanting us to extend our love to all people and beyond to all that God has made. The Creator loves his/her creation and calls for all his/her creatures to become co-creators and co-lovers of all that he/she has made.

The resurrection of Jesus is a sign of all that is to come. Jesus is the forerunner or first-fruits of all God's creation; the first among many brothers and sisters. We are mistaken if we think that the process of creation has come to a standstill.

The process of creation continues as Jesus' life of self-giving to the universe continues. Jesus brought new life to earth by following his father's heart and loving until death, even death on a horrible cross.

Now God the creator calls us to follow the example of Jesus and to give ourselves to creating a new heaven and a new earth.

The way is simple enough and has been shown to us by Jesus. Love one another and follow me in making this your central aim. God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The future lies open before us, as always, and we are presented with a choice. Either we follow the selfish principle of looking after ourselves and not caring about other people or looking after the earth. That way leads to the destruction of all things.

Or, alternatively, learn the principle of love and resurrection. We then begin to live adventurously taking care of each other and of the earth.

Can we reconnect in time with the importance of caring for one another and the earth? Or will we turn away from the light and go into the darkness of self and planetary destruction?

I believe that God is Creator and in the process of creating a good earth. I believe that we, his/her creatures, are made so much like him/her that light, love and goodness will prevail and a new creation will be born.

God is patiently waiting for his/her creatures to turn away from selfishness and say 'Yes' to his/her goodness and blessing.

Rev Philip Young is the Norwich Diocesan Environmental Officer.
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