As Kingdom People we are called serve our communities and to spread the news of God’s love. We are called to engage with global and national issues and to show God’s love through what we do. The environmental disaster facing our world is one, we as Christians, cannot ignore.
No doubt during the past year you will have heard the terms well-being and mindfulness spoken over and over again. Caring for our own well-being means to accept and nurture our own mental health. Mindfulness is being present in the moment-pushing every thought to one side and only allowing the present moment to have any impact on you. This has been so important since the pandemic began and many of us have been fortunate enough to spend mindful moments with nature.
One of the greatest blessings of last year was the wonderful weather we enjoyed. It allowed us to get out into the open air and enjoy nature. This might have been a walk in the woods, sitting on a park bench or appreciating a window box. Just standing and feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces was uplifting. In more recent months we have watched snowflakes fall gracefully from the sky. Snowdrops and daffodils have found their way through the dark soil into the light. We have allowed ourselves to be present in a moment of beauty, a moment of light within the darkness. When we stare into the blackest of nights we don’t look at the dark; it is the light of the moon and stars we fixate upon and wonder at.
I worship at St Cassian’s church in rural Worcestershire – we are proud holders of a silver Eco church award. We are caretakers of a beautiful building, within a beautiful churchyard in a beautiful village. This does not mean we can sit back and do nothing. The village suffers from drive by littering, people finishing a takeaway meal brought in the town and then flinging their rubbish out of the car window without a care. We get a lot of visitors and people buying fast food locally who simply discard their waste in the hedgerows.
It would be so easy to walk past this mess- expect that the council pick it up. As Christians we cannot and must not do this. Does one piece of litter really matter? One small piece of rubbish dumped in Worcestershire can find its way into the river and into the oceans. God blessed us with the natural wonders all around us and we have a responsibility to do all we can to protect it. We know that if we care for nature; nature will care for us. Never has it been more important to accept the healing power of the natural world, to know and feel the love of God and to pass this gift to the next generation.
During Lent we often give or take something up – this Lent give up some time to go outside, stop, give thanks and be present in the natural world all around you - take the time to pick up any litter you see. Don’t leave it for someone else- make caring for our world one of your Lenten challenges for 2021.