Hundreds of thousands of people in more than 2,000 locations around the globe have marched worldwide. This is a campaign, ahead of the UN climate summit in New York next week, for curbs on carbon emissions.
Many Christians are in a liturgical month, the Creation Season, in preparation for the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, on October 4, Christianity’s best-known advocate for treating animals and nature as our brothers and sisters.
Christians need to repent of our abuse of the planet and the environment. We have justified this by using biblical texts such as God giving dominion to us over everything. There is also the attitude of, “it doesn’t matter because Jesus is coming back agains soon.” As well as a focus away from this life on this planet, on saving spiritual souls for after death.
Christians are relatively late to realising our responsibility for the planet. Only at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in 1990 was a fifth mark of mission added to the other four: “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”
In the 1989 A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa prayers were included that acknowledged our responsibility:
Awaken in us a sense of wonder for the earth and all that is in it.
Teach us to care creatively for its resources.
We remember with gratitude your many gifts to us in creation and the rich heritage of these islands. Help us and people everywhere to share with justice and peace the resources of the earth. Give wisdom to those in authority among us and to all leaders of the nations.
we thank you for your gifts in creation:
for our world,
the heavens tell of your glory;
for our land, its beauty and its resources,
for the rich heritage we enjoy.
for those who make decisions about the resources of the earth,
that we may use your gifts responsibly;
for those who work on the land and sea, in city and in industry,
that all may enjoy the fruits of their labours
and marvel at your creation;
for artists, scientists and visionaries,
that through their work we may see creation afresh.
Read more reflections on the page for Creation Season.