by Alexei Laushkin
Every spring EEN places a special focus on the need to preach about creation care, usually through Creation Care Sunday and sometimes through days of prayer. It seems natural given the stunning colors of spring and new life to talk about our responsibility to make sure that life is tended in such a way that it produces abundance.
The question is why should most preachers bother? Isn't it a bit of a leap to take a whole Sunday to talk about the flowers, and the bees, and the mountains? Get real, right? Honestly, if I weren't engaged in creation-care and someone asked me to devote a Sunday of church time to creation-care, I'd probably say, heck no! What's the point?
The point is the environmental movement has gotten it wrong.
They haven't communicated effectively that human life and well-being is dependent on how we steward God's world. Clean air, clean water, and access to food. These are the staples and the building blocks needed for life to flourish. If you look at the great injustices of the world, from human slavery to HIV AIDS, to even abortion, it's a disregard for Life that threatens our fellow man. It's our failure to heed the sort of life that Jesus himself embodied, the sort of life that Jesus secures for his people to live by.
This life comes with a kingdom that is imperishable.
To take time out for a Creation Care Sunday, is to take time to connect to one of the great injustices of our time- climate change. God has provided for the workings of the natural world. Mankind has thrived during a time when food could be abundant and stable. These predictable cycles and seasons, allowed for humanity to build and flourish.
In our time that stability is being radically undermined.
In places like Malawi widespread drought means disaster. A lack of access to food makes everything worse. Living on less than a $1 a day and living without access to clean water makes life very hard on the vulnerable. Woman and young girls have to walk miles a day for wood and water. It's a dangerous and precarious existence and climate change is making its disruptive ways known on the earth.
In the Island Nation of Tuvalu it's showing up in shrinking reefs and salinized ground water, in East Africa it is making its ways known in century long droughts and famine. In Peru it is making its way known through unpredictable farming seasons and in Bangladesh it is making its way known through shrinking coastlands and colder weather. The climate is changing and its impact will be felt the world over.
The imprint of climate change will be with us well into our children's children's lives. It's truly a multi-generational issue, and a multi-generational failure. No one person intended for it to happen, but the science has made it relatively clear, we will live in a world that is far less reliable when it comes to food production. We can slow the impact and manage the changes, but the potential for existing and ongoing injustice is immense.
We can't count on the government to solve this problem, or a particular smart-policy to get us out of this mess. This isn't about the size of government, but about our willingness to really work for solutions that engage all of us in a personal way.
The challenge is particularly acute for the church. Will a church that has not been known for its preaching on godly stewardship, step up and rediscover its call to be God's images in the world, in all ways and all forms. Will we take the time to make our building more efficient, and will we take the time to listen and see what is going on around us in the world. Will we be innovative enough to pioneer new solutions and be aware of what is in the food and products we consume? Do we even wonder why cancer and autism rates, not to mention Asthma and ADHD are sky-rocketing?
It's time for us to awake from our collective slumber.
That's why I'm excited about groups like I-61 Ministry. They see that churches need to step up and engage in some of the great challenges of our day, everything from spiritual confusion to sex trafficking, environmental stewardship, cycles of corruption, pro-life, and much more.
As a preacher and a pastor will you take some time to equip your people with issues that are close to God's heart? Will you get your church engaged in some of the great challenges of our time? Will our salt and light extend to God's creation? For our sake and the sake of future generations, I pray that it does. For we serve a just and holy God and He won't stand idly by while His people suffer. He will act, will you act with Him?
Check out some of these resources and some sample material that could be used in a sermon below.
Dr. Chris Wright of the Langham Partnership
Tri Robinson on Becoming a Good Samaritan
John Ortberg- Is God Green?
Our Fathers World- produced by Northland Church featuring Bill Hybels, Joel Hunter, Tri Robinson, among many other senior leaders.
A Prayer for the Church by Rev. Dan Wolfe
Dr. Valery Shean on the Impacts of Climate Change on Uganda
Below is a variety of prayer resources on creation care. Please feel free to use and adapt.
2013 Creation Care Sundays Prayer Points
2012 Global Day of Prayer on Creation Care Prayer Points