The Vicar writes for September


The Vicar writes………

After the longest holiday I have had since my childhood, albeit interspersed with Sunday commitments in what must be one of the most beautiful settings in the world for a suburban parish church, I have settled very quickly back into the routine of parish life at home.

I have had time to reflect on the whole experience of visiting a country where everything seems so big and spread out. Canada is a vast country, but its population is only 55% that of the United Kingdom. Vancouver is a big city, but beyond that urban sprawl are huge areas of wilderness and I was fortunate to be able to get only a sense of that when visiting parts of British Columbia. It was on our flight out to Vancouver, passing over Greenland and Hudson Bay where one starts to get an appreciation of the vastness of the northern polar ice cap. The cloudless skies revealed hundreds of miles of wild snow-covered landscape and seas littered with small icebergs. I pondered over this, wondering if these bergs were originally part of the same iceberg. Was this natural for this area, or an effect of global warming? For we do know our ice caps are melting. Canadians in general, like Europeans, are people who are becoming    increasingly concerned about the environment and our impact on global warming, and also the problems of plastics in our rivers and oceans. We do face difficulties placed upon us when purchasing food and drinks to avoid plastic. And then add to that the recent forest fires in the Amazon rainforest due to exploitation of the land for a new purpose. The fires are a huge concern to the whole world and make us feel hopeless, especially if we are trying to play our part in some way. As the Bishop of Salisbury, Nick Holtam, commented, "At the moment there are so many initiatives to plant trees to help carbon capture. It is appalling to see such large areas of rainforest burn. They destroy more than the trees. They destroy hope."

In the creation story of Genesis 1 the goodness of all creation is stated seven times and humankind is tasked to oversee the created order. I would suggest this is not just for the human race’s own benefit, but that those who are made in the image of God, ie. human beings, should reflect God’s attitude towards nature: one of appreciation rather than domination or supremacy.

We do face lifestyle choices, now and in the future. We also need     technological advancement. I was only too aware of this flying to Canada, considering our own impact through CO2 emissions. We may feel our small contribution to solve this problem, however it is achieved, is not important, but it is important. We may feel a sense of helplessness or lack of responsibility, that this is a matter beyond our power, and it is something for governments to resolve. But as the French philosopher Voltaire stated, ‘No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels  responsible’.

May we do our best to be responsible stewards of God’s world and play our part to safeguard the future for others. ‘The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it’. (Psalm 24:1).

An exhibit in Vancouver Aquarium made from plastic found on sea shores and in the Pacific Ocean.