We all know that the climate is changing. From scientists to schoolchildren, there is virtual agreement that human activity is affecting this and that we need to change our way of life, radically and quickly. People are doing amazing things to make the point. Greta Thunberg crossed the Atlantic in a solar-powered yacht and then addressed the United Nations. Ten-year-old Lillia wowed the crowd at the Manchester climate strike – and there were some Methodists there too.
Climate change hurts. Our Methodist development agency All We Can is currently appealing for the people of the Bahamas, following the terrible devastation of Hurricane Dorian. Closer to home, we also experience weather that is less predictable, more extreme, and it will get worse.
For us as Christians, climate change is also a God-centred issue. God made us to be stewards of this planet. The prophets describe with horror the ways in which fertile lands become barren deserts, as a result of the people’s foolish disobedience. And Jesus comes to us as one who serves, not one who pushes others about. His ministry rules out the greedy exploitation of creation which is leading us to disaster.
So what are we going to do in light of this threat to God’s ordered will for the planet? We can think about that as individuals – maybe change to green electricity or decide to fly less. We can think about it as churches – some churches in the circuit are already engaging with the A Rocha programme to become eco-churches. But in all these life-changing activities, it’s vital to remember that we do this because we are God’s people. We need to pray for change as well as work for it. We need to tell the life-giving stories of the Bible in the face of the stories of the destruction of our planet. We need to be attentive to the power of the Holy Spirit, who creates, sustains and renews all creation. And we need to hold on to hope, because when we take good care of God’s planet, we are doing God’s will.