Bloomin’ Lovely

Recently the church held the Bloomin’ Lovely event ending with Songs of Praise outside in the castle grounds. It was a wonderful weekend of celebration. We celebrated the creativity of some of the villagers, we celebrated the artistic gifts of the authors of the books that had been chosen and most importantly we celebrated the beautiful creation that we have been given by God to care for. I am writing this on what is probably going to be the hottest day we have ever had in the UK. In June we had one of the wettest months on record. We cannot but think of climate change when this is happening. Are we really caring for our environment? God’s very first command is ‘Be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth.’

Critics of the Bible and Christianity argue that this verse is a major cause of the abusive relationship humanity has had with the earth. The invitation to ‘have dominion’ over the earth and its creatures has, we are told, encouraged us to treat the earth with contempt and to see it as existing only for our benefit and well-being and it is not just in the world today. The Israeli historian, Yuval Harari, in his widely acclaimed book ‘Sapiens’ says this: ‘Don’t believe the tree-huggers who claim that our ancestors lived in harmony with nature. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo Sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinction.’

We are all well aware that we probably need to change our life-style. We only have to listen to the constant laments of David Attenborough or watch various TV documentaries to see what is happening. So do these destructive attitudes and actions spring from that divine command ‘to have dominion over the earth’? I believe the answer is No. The Hebrew verb for ‘have dominion’ does carry the meaning of ‘rule’ and ‘govern’ but it also has links to the word for shepherd so that it has the connotation of care and nurture built into it. Human beings are made in the image of God so we should be reflecting the ways of God. But our selfishness and rebellion against God gets in the way. So my challenge to all of us this summer is: Are there any other ways in which we can care for creation and the environment in our homes and in our churches? I will probably continue this conversation during our Harvest Celebrations…

Blessings, Lucinda

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