We started exploring the season of Creationtide on 5th September and will finish with our Harvest Festival on the 3rd October. It has involved us exploring themes such as abundance, desolation, restoration and care of our planet. There is a story below, which although a simple story, causes us to stop and think afresh about our world, climate change and our personal response.
In a museum, many years ago, there was an amazing exhibit. It was a tiny globe, just a few feet in diameter, yet it held so much mystery and so much beauty within it that people travelled for miles and miles, just to see it. There were always crowds around it and queues lined up, patiently waiting for their turn to view the wonder.
And there it was – a delicate sphere floating in its case. It looked different from every angle. Sometimes you could find big pools of water in it, and smaller flows of water feeding into the big pools. Sometimes, these pools were smooth and blue, and at other times, they were white with froth and full of movement. There were bumps on the globe- some big bumps, with white tops, and some smaller, gentler bumps. The globe had little sandpits in it, with lovely patterns blown by the wind, which changed every day, and it had frosty places too. The globe danced with the space around it, turning on its toes, so every part of it got a turn at facing the light ad resting in the darkness.
People marvelled at the thin layer of gas that surrounded this little globe, and noticed that there were holes in it, and the holes seemed to be getting bigger. They were concerned, in case something was going wrong with it. And sometimes, part of it would go dark for no apparent reason, and there might be smoke and a strange smell from those parts and the people didn’t know why. They were concerned because these dark bits never quite seemed to get better again afterwards,
Perhaps most of all though, the people gasped in wonder at the tiny creatures that lived on the globe. Some lived in the pools and some lived just under the gas wrapping and others lived on the bump.
The globe was declared a national treasure and the people paid large sums of money to make sure that it is was protected. It had become so precious to them that they would defend it with their own lives. They would never let anything hurt it. It came to be known as the greatest wonder in the world and people flocked to see it, to touch it and to love it. They felt that just to be in touch with it would bring them healing and just to gaze at it deeply would bring them wisdom. They even felt that without it, their own lives would be meaningless.
That was a long time ago. The treasure has fallen into disrepair now. Some say that the rot set in when the people who used to treasure the globe started to shrivel and shrink because they were so wrapped up in less important matters. The people eventually got so small that they disappeared right inside the globe and after that they never noticed it again and they completely forgot how they once loved it and treasured it. With no one to treasure it, the globe slowly stopped breathing and eventually it slipped away into space, unregarded.
We are all aware of the impact of climate change and the impact that it has had on the world, especially recently. In June there was a summer of deadly heatwaves and wildfires in Canada, US, Greece and Turkey. In July heavy rain fell across the United Kingdom, western Germany, and neighbouring Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Small rivers and streams turned into torrential currents that destroyed entire villages. Many people died and many more lost their homes and belongings. In August the African island of Madagascar was and continues to face its worst drought in 40 years. It has left hundreds of thousands of people fighting for survival as the crisis becomes more dire by the day. About 2000 people have lost their homes after wildfires broke out in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. A senior official for the regional fire service said there had been ongoing discussions about the consequences of climate change, adding: “Today we are living them.” These are but a few examples.
What is our response to climate change – as individuals, as a nation and internationally? What do we want to see happening?
There is a hymn written by Graham Kendrick ‘Beauty for Brokenness’ which expresses what we might want to see happening in our world.
Shelter for fragile lives
Cures for their ills
Work for the craftsman
Trade for their skills
Land for the dispossessed
Rights for the weak
Voices to plead the cause
Of those who can’t speak
Refuge from cruel wars
Havens from fear
Cities for sanctuary
Freedoms to share
Peace to the killing-fields
Scorched earth to green
Christ for the bitterness
His cross for the pain
Rest for the ravaged earth
Oceans and streams
Plundered and poisoned
Our future, our dreams
Lord, end our madness
Make us content with
The things that we need
So, what are we going to do? One of the most important things that we can do is pray. Pray about our own lifestyle and our impact on the planet. We also need to pray for our government and our nation as it looks at climate changes and put measures into place, which we may not like as it may mean change for us. We also need to pray for our world. There are specific things we can pray for, particularly for the poor and vulnerable for whom climate change impacts on the most. In November we have the United Nations Climate Change in Glasgow, which could have a real impact on the world.
We also need to take action and think about the choices that we make. I am not here to tell you what to do or what not to do, that is for you to decide. Equally, as I have said earlier it is a personal, national and international response. Some simply think that one person cannot make a difference and yet that is not true. Gandhi said, ‘be the change you want see to happen.’ We can all make a difference to our planet and our future. It is in our hands. With God’s help we can change brokenness to beauty.
Harvest has to be time for us to reflect on creation and our response the current situation that we find ourselves in.