This is the title of a written resource produced by Bishop John Arnold of Salford Diocese (see previous entry). In it he outlines what he has been doing, based on the categories familiar to many of reducing consumption, re-using items and recycling.
Spurred on by his lifestyle changes we are reducing:
· meat consumption to twice a week
· use of non-local and packaged products
· use of electrical appliances (lights, tumble dryer, heating)
· our use of water.
We are reusing plastic containers and getting refills such as liquid soap.
We are recycling as much as possible and avoiding wastage of food.
We are beginning to research the sourcing of more ethical products that support a sustainable ecology, good animal care, and just wages.
Why is ecology and sustainable living a Christian concern?
There are many reasons why this should be so. This week we focus on contemplating God in creation. The Gospel of St John starts with the following proclamation, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being’. St Paul in his letter to the Colossians confirms this reality stating ‘all things have been created through him and for him’ and that ‘in him all things hold together’.(Col 1:16-17) From very early in the life of the Church, Christ was depicted in iconography as the Pantocrator., which means ‘ruler of all, or Lord of the Universe’.
What can we learn from these scriptures and traditions?
Firstly that all things that exist owe their original and continuing existence to God.
Secondly God is intricately bound up with all created things
Thirdly it follows that by contemplating any aspect of the created Universe we can learn something of the God who made it and sustains it.
Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si encourages us to make it our regular habit to spend time in silence just observing and marvelling at creation. This could involve anything from studying the leaf of a plant on your window ledge, the ant in the garden, the dandelion growing through the crack in your patio paving, to consciously listening to the dawn chorus, walking in the countryside, sitting by a pond or river, or gazing up at the stars. What we are invited to do is to fall in love with creation and therefore with the God who designed and sustains it and together with St John and St Paul to see all creation as being in him. It is this kind of love affair with creation that will naturally motivate us to care for it.
Suggestion: Make it your practice each day to spend a few minutes contemplating something in nature.
‘O all you works of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.’ Dan 3:57