Responsible Stewardship of God's Creation

Revd Chris Wood

This year we were extremely fortunate in being able to spend some quality time back in Yorkshire, on a campsite 9 miles outside York. This meant that we were able to visit York on numerous occasion (one of our favourite cities) as well as explore both that part of North Yorkshire (Vale of York) and further afield (East Coast and North Yorkshire moors). This included an incredible walk along Filey Brigg and watching the waves crashing against the rocks and shooting high into the sky!

It was the day that we decided to head over the moors and visit Staithes as well as Robin Hoods Bay that will stick long in the memory. The drive over the moors was spectacular with purple heather stretching as far as the eye could see, and rugged valley's shooting off in various directions. We were impressed by the number of people that had ventured on to the moors to take photos or go for a walk.

It was when we came to the highest point that we could first admire the amazing view stretching out before us, with a small village nestling in the valley. It's no wonder that some call this 'God's own Country! While we were still basking in this delight that we both reacted to something in the middle of the road that had caught our eyes - a used crisp packet glistening in the sun! Given that it seemed in pristine condition, and being no parked cars in that particular stretch, we can only assume that it had been thrown out an open window of a car travelling the same route - not either thinking or even caring about the consequence of their actions. It was a stark reminder that some folk seem to take bad habits with them whenever they venture out into beautiful countryside.

But then it's not just discarded rubbish is it when considering folks lack of care or responsibility? We returned to a news item that highlighted the number of elephants that are being slaughtered by poachers for their tusks; another spoken of dangerous additives in some shower gels that are having disastrous effect on marine life; and the latest only this week is the worrying levels of pollutants being found in human brains.

Autumn rightly is a time for giving thanks for the beauty of creation, and its bountiful crops produced near and far for our delight, and a reminder of our dependence on changing seasons, as well as plentiful rain and sunshine (preferably at the right time) for our continuing wellbeing. It is a time to remind ourselves of the generosity of God's goodness and provisions, knowing that we are called to be co-workers to gain its rightful benefit, but scripture reminds us that a great deal of the essential work is undertaken silently and unseen in the mysterious workings of creation - and all God's creatures should benefit from the rich harvest the earth produces.

Equally, this is a time of year when we are challenged to reflect on some of the mistakes and misuses of God's created order and express sorrow and regret at the irreparable damage being done in the name of progress - from the careless dropping of rubbish, to the bigger issues of climate change; the tragic loss of endangered species; the worrying effects of pollution and the continually taking of the world's finite resources without considering the effects on future generations.

I would like to think that humankind had the capacity to learn from its mistakes, and endeavour in all things to ensure that the world is being passed on to those who come after in a fit state, where our children's children might express their delight that we have proved responsible stewards of this wonderful world that has been given into our care.

Maybe this vision has to start somewhere - how about with us?!

God Bless


October 2016