In August we celebrated the birth of our first grandchild (“Surely you’re not old enough to be a Grandad – I hear you cry!”) and I now I am often looking at the world in a different way because I am often challenged by looking to the future and wondering about the world our grandson will inherit and inhabit.
Ten years ago the Methodist Church, Baptist churches and the URC church compiled a report called ‘Hope in God’s future’. It was not just a report but also a study guide on the subject of ‘Christian Discipleship in the context of climate change’ and it still gives some in-depth attention to how Christians should respond the challenges affecting our environment. (If you are able, you can find the report on the Methodist web site or it’s still available to order from Methodist Publishing).
In some ways I feel the church has been quite slow to respond to the climate challenges facing us but I can also appreciate the shortage of funds and the need to prioritise on other things. It would be great if we could explore the possibility of installing solar panels on church roofs to provide for some of our water heating and lighting but despite the various grants available the capital costs are still high.
The report suggests that we must be hopeful Christians as we look towards a better world, one in which God’s promises for all people are certain and in which we celebrate God’s creation. But there is a danger that this hope means we think we don’t need to act because God will sort the problem out for us.
Paul in his letter to the Romans (6:1-2) says:
“What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning, so that God’s grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?”
And the report states:
“Hope in God’s future is, therefore, not an alternative to wise and moral actions in response to the situations that confront us. Christian hope guarantees that such faithful actions will not finally prove to be meaningless and ineffective but will find a place in God’s purpose for the redeeming of the world. Hope is thus a reason for bold action in the world in accordance with God’s will for creation, not an excuse for inaction”
So I want to commend the actions of young people and children who protest about climate change despite the inconsistencies of lifestyle and consumerism inherent in all modern day protesters. I will encourage all protests which work within the law especially by our children and young people to highlight the way in which my generation and others before it have misused God’s world.
There is hope in God’s world when we are ready to take action.
Deacon Richard Beckett