Preach / Eco theme / Genesis 1 / 29th Oct 2017 ‘ And God Saw That is Was good’

Preach / Eco theme / Genesis 1 / 29th Oct 2017

Given at TRINITY Church 9.30 22nd oct and 10 & 11.15 29th Oct, available to listen here

‘Title: And God saw that it was Good…’

 

Reading Genesis 1

and John 1:1-5

 

 

So for today’s sermon we have an eco focus. I’m not preaching on giving, we’ve done the prep for gift day before today and Steve has preached on giving for us. But there is a bit of a link because we want to be people who give our whole lives to God, every area, and one part of that is finances and giving, and yet another part is in looking after the world we live in, we could say a world that God has given us to look after, and recognising our impact on God’s creation and that’s what I am going to focus on today…

 

I want to start today with a story, you might have heard it before but it’s a nice story…

 

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go walking on the beach every morning. One day, he was walking along the shore after a big storm and found the beach was covered with stranded starfish.

Then the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and the man could see that he was bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  So he called out, “Hi There, can I ask what you are doing?”

The boy looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” unless I throw them back into the water they will die.

The old man replied, “But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. you won’t really make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the sea. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

…o0O0o…

So we’ll come back to that later on but now let’s get into our reading and today we are looking at creation and what that might mean to is in an eco-sense.

And I thought we’d do that by going through it one day at a time.

 

 

Day 1

 

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 

 

This is the UK at night… (pic)

Did you know, in an average year in the U.S alone outdoor lighting uses some 120 terawatt-hours of energy) so for info 1 terawatt = 1 trillion hours) so, 120 trillion hours of energy on street lighting – That’s one country and street lamps alone.

The amount of power needed to run all that lighting adds up to $3.3 billion per year and the release of 21 million tons of CO2 per year.

 

And unfortunately, up to 50 percent of that light is wasted.

 

And did you know that artificial lights can disrupt nature too.

The migratory cycles of birds can be affected by light pollution too causing them to leave too early or too late in the season..

This all then affects their nesting and their very ability to survive.

 

…o0O0o…

 

God said let there be light, he gave us day and night, but it’s not enough for us and our man made lighting solutions are affecting the very order of the earth.

 

…o0O0o…

 

 

So… Day 2

 

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

  

That expanse, sky, is often polluted by our waste.

Although cars in this country have to pass emissions tests when they have their MOTs, across the world vehicle emissions are still one of the biggest contributors to pollution.

Not only does this harm the environment but can also be really harmful to us too. For example,

  • Breathing polluted air puts you at a higher risk for asthma and other respiratory diseases.
  • toxic chemicals released into the air can settle into plants and water sources. Animals eat the contaminated plants and drink the water. The poison then travels up the food chain – to us.

 

God created that wonderful expanse, that vault of sky, and we are filling it with toxic chemicals…

 

…o0O0o…

Day 3

Focusing on first part of the day… a lot happened on this day!

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

 

And what have we done with that dry ground?

 

Well, I can’t find the very latest stats but in 2012 in this country alone nearly 50 million tonnes of waste went into landfill sites.

To help us imagine how much that is – as a rough guide that’s

5750, 000,000 bags of rubbish – buried in the dry ground that God created.

 

More than that, some of these landfill sites that were used before regulations became much stricter (and we’re only talking pre 1990) are at real risk of leaking toxic chemicals into our water sources, evidence already shows that some of these are compromised… leaking chemicals, toxins and waste into the land around them, the land that God created…

 

what have we done with that dry ground? We have filled it with our trash…

 

…o0O0o…

 

Day 4

 

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

 

 

We talk a lot these days about our carbon footprint don’t we? How much Co2 do we each produce, and other gases that are called ‘greenhouse gases’ because they trap infrared radiation, which effectively holds heat in the atmosphere, which in turn gradually raises the temperature of the planet.

 

So your carbon footprint is the amount of Co2 you produce or you use, related to every aspect of your life. For example using gas or oil to heat your home, electricity that you use if it comes from plants that produce Co2, the food you consume, air miles used to get it here etc etc

 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, humans release 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Because each CO2 molecule might last for up to 200 years, so that carbon overload can have long-term consequences.

 

So that beautiful vault of sky, filled with the lights God made, is gradually being filled with toxic chemcials and not only will that have an impact on us but on generations to come…

 

…o0O0o…

Day 5

 

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

 

 

Today there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans.

In fact in the pacific ocean an area twice the size of the US has been dubbed the great garbage patch, it is effectively a plastic soup, the ocean there just filled with tiny fragments of plastic.

 

pic – This is Henderson Island in the S Pacific. It is uninhabited and yet its beaches are littered with plastic trash washed up from across the world. Estimated around 3500 pieces arrive each day.

Most of the items found on the beaches are not from the shipping industry or fishing, but are everyday household items coming from our waste.

It’s even more concerning because Henderson Island is also a United Nations World Heritage site and one of the world’s biggest marine reserves, and one of the world’s best remaining examples of a coral atoll, practically untouched by human presence.

Or it was….

 

All that plastic also affects marine life, as they ingest it, or are trapped in it.

 

 

When God said ‘Let the water teem with living creatures’? I don’t think he meant let it also teem with bits of used up old plastic that will kill of the living creatures…

 

…o0O0o…

 

Day 6

 

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

 

The lives of these beautiful creatures that God created are affected in so many ways by our selfishness, our greed or just our ignorance.

Today, about 23% (1,130 species) of mammals and 12% (1,194 species) of birds are considered as threatened and every reason given for that threat is human derived:

unsustainable use of natural resources, climate change and pollution, ongoing growth of human populations, unsustainable consumer lifestyles, increased production of waste and pollutants and urban development,

Here’s one example, you might have heard of. Orangutans are threatened as their natural habit is being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations.

Palm oil is used in many products from food to cosmetics. It is estimated to be an ingredient in over half of all products in supermarkets.

Almost 80% of orangutan habitat has disappeared in the last 20 years as a direct result of the palm oil industry.

Over 6,000 orangutans a year die in the process, either in losing their habitat or through direct killing by the industry.

 

Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds…?

Well right now we are doing a pretty good job of messing up the land so that It can no longer produce living creatures, instead they struggle even to survive…

…o0O0o…

still Day 6…

and now to us, where do we fit into all of this? Then and now?

 

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 

So God created mankind in his own image,

    in the image of God he created them;

    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

 

 …o0O0o…

Creation is good. Every day of creation bar 1 (and that’s another sermon), God saw that it was good and on the final day that it was VERY good.

And he gave that creation to man.

And although this not a preach on giving, how appropriate for our gift day – God gave mankind the purpose to oversee the earth,

And lets face it, if we don’t look after the earth then money is going to have very little importance anyway!

And different versions say different things:

NIV says :

so that they may rule over

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

‘Have dominion’ NRSV &KJV

and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over KJV

MSG:     So they can be responsible for

But what does it mean to rule or to have dominion over? What does that all that mean in a Godly sense?
I don’t think it means to lord it over the earth like a dictator, making strict laws, doing whatever we want when we want, and trampling over those in our path with no consideration for anyone or anything else.

I think God made man and then he gave him a gift and a purpose.

Remember humanity was made in God’s likeness, in ‘our image’ it says so then surely humanity’s role is to rule in his likeness?

And what do we know about God? He is a God of love, of compassion, kindness, faithfulness, provision… I could go on…

If you look at leaders in the bible, especially in the OT, the best leaders or rulers were the Godly ones, those who remained focused on God. They were the ones who sought the Lord and took people with them. They helped people to see the right way of living, or to repent when they’d made a mistake. Those who ruled with God at the heart of their leadership…

And Jesus himself gave us a model of leadership that was about servanthood, about submitting to others, about putting others before ourselves, about loving our neighbour, even in difference.

And he was there, right at the start of creation, John 1 as we heard talks of the word of God (a reference to Jesus)

 

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

 

Without him nothing was made, in him was life and the light of all mankind…

Jesus was there at the very beginning.

So I think when God gave authority to Adam and Eve to rule the earth he did so thinking that they would love his beautiful creation as he did, that they would care for it and all the creatures in it as he did. And it’s the same for us today…

we have responsibility for God’s wonderful creation. And so to some extent it doesn’t matter what you believe about climate change or whether you choose not to eat meat, or whether you accept that ‘light pollution’ is actually a thing, or whether care one jot what your carbon footprint is. And it really doesn’t matter how creation happened, whether you think it was in one giant bang, in 7 days or over 7 millenia, he still made it.

Because at the end of the day chances are if you are in here, you believe in Jesus, you follow him, and want to be more like him (or if not you might be a bit interested in him!)

 

…o0O0o…

So can you imagine Jesus coming back right now and asking for a tour of the earth?

How could we possibly even begin to justify the state of the planet?

Imagine for one second what the beauty of the earth might have been like when God created it, new and flourishing, and bursting with abundant life. Reflecting the glory of God himself, the very essence of who God is, a creator…

And now compare that with the images I’ve shown you. Filled with rubbish, animals dying, the land filled with toxicity.

I don’t care if you believe in climate change or not, we, humanity, are treating this planet, God’s creation with a total lack of care and consideration.

Perhaps ask yourself, where do you see Jesus in the world around you? I wonder 

Would he see it and still say ‘ it is good?’

…o0O0o…

 

Don’t want to depress you…

Remember that starfish story at the beginning, it’s so easy to view things like this that are so vast and beyond our comprehension we think, well what can I do? I’m just one person, what difference can I make? Well just like the boy in the story we can do our small part and it can make a difference where we are. As a church we are working hard towards being more eco-friendly in the way the church is run. As you probably know we were awarded out silver eco award earlier this year and we are working on the next one too. But what can we do as individuals? We all have a responsibility…

…o0O0o…

So to finish up with… I’ve got a few suggestions that you can commit to really easily.

 

  • plastic – use less of it! Try and use less plastic bags – easy to just leave some on the car for when you next go to a shop.

I when I buy fruit and veg – stick it straight in the trolley you don’t need to bag everything up.

Or Give up Plastic water bottles. So it would be tough to give up plastic completely but we can be more aware of how we buy and what we use. Buy a reusable water bottle – preferably not plastic and wash and refill it. If you must buy one – sometimes we need to – reuse that!

 

  • Go Palm Oil Free – take a look at some of the products in your home. Ok replacing them all might be a bit costly but over time chose to buy different brands, even just one or two. Check out ethical consumer.com which has a list of some palm oil free products.
  • Try and reduce your landfill rubbish, Lewes is pretty good at recycling and its going to get even better with the new system being rolled out next year. But what about things you can’t put in there? clothes that are not even good enough for charity? Cut up to use as rags/cleaning cloths for example… think outside the box!
  • Check out orgs friends of the earth, green Christian, ethical consumer and others for more tips = maybe sign up for an email newsletter to keep informed…
  • Join the creation care team at TRINITY!

Try and choose one that you don’t already do and stick to it, simple but a step towards recognising the role each of us have on this planet.

 

Amen…

 

Links I used for research and pictures (not in this post)

 

Green Christian

Ethical Consumer

articles //

http://www.darksky.org/5-appalling-facts-about-light-pollution/

 

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27022017/global-warming-permafrost-study-melt-canada-siberia

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_methane_emissions

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_plastic_development

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27442625

 

 

http://metro.co.uk/2012/09/04/infographic-how-many-tonnes-of-waste-goes-to-landfill-in-britain-565321/

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/27/waste-rubbish-industry-landfill-recycling-dumps-incineration

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/landfill-dumps-across-uk-at-risk-of-leaking-hazardous-chemicals-a6887956.html

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130510-honeybee-bee-science-european-union-pesticides-colony-collapse-epa-science/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/sunday-review/the-biggest-carbon-sin-air-travel.html

 

https://sciencing.com/co2-bad-planet-4876.html

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/05/henderson-island-pitcairn-trash-plastic-pollution/

 

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/species/problems/

 

https://www.theorangutanproject.org.uk/about-orangutans/palm-oil/

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