This Lent (6 March to 20 April) Bishop Peter and Bishop Ruth are inviting us to focus on caring for the world around us. The Bishops’ Lent Challenge, Living Well in God’s World will help us think about what our Christian faith says about how we live and how we care for creation. This week’s theme is ‘For God so loved the world’.
As a child raised in part by my grandparents, when I wasn’t in school I followed them everywhere. When out and about, in order to make the journey bearable my grandpa would buy me a soft drink. My favourite was a bottle of non-alcoholic Root Beer. I remember reading the bottle labels to pass the time. There was a portion on these labels which always intrigued me. It read something like “CASH REFUND ME-VT-MA-NY-OR-IA 5¢, CA 10¢”. This labelled the various areas that gave a refund per bottle. At 7 years old, I daydreamed that I’d become rich collecting bottles and cans discarded by restaurants or used by individuals once and tossed into the nearest hedge. This dream never materialised. However, I still dream of what the world might be like if we, as the people of God, went about redeeming from dark corners those who’ve been discarded by society.
Much like the above bottles and cans, the whole of the cosmos is being redeemed, bought back, through Jesus. In Colossians 1:15-23, we read that the whole of the cosmos was made in, through and for Jesus and that all things will be reconciled back to Him. When we see Creation as though we are looking through God’s eyes, we see His redemptive love through the life of Jesus Christ. Creation is about Jesus!
How can we better steward our use of God’s Creation? Could we be more considerate about what we use once only to discard immediately after use? Humans have been the culprits of misuse of this planet. To wisely care for the earth does not mean disuse, but wise use. In God’s economy, we see reuse by His reconciliation through Jesus. All things have been made to provide for humanity. Taking it a step further, how can we be better stewards of the relationships with people that God has put into our lives? When we begin to see God’s intention for Creation, to be made complete in Christ, we begin to realise our own part within it: to represent Him as adopted sons and daughters of the Creator of the Universe.Take a moment to think about all that God has provided.
- Misuse: Are there thing that we are frivolous with?
- Disuse:Consider how can you cut down on using things that are environmentally destructive?
- Wise use: What ways could we be more considerate about our purchases/lifestyle.
- Reuse: In what ways can you re-purpose things you might otherwise discard.
Lay Pioneer and Youth Leader at Holy Trinity, Frome
- We are buying more clothes and wearing them for less time. Globally, almost 90% of clothing is not recycled in any way, and fashion is a highly-polluting industry, contributing to climate change, microfibres in the ocean and water pollution.
- Our houses are responsible for 30-40% of energy use in the UK. Last year, 33% of the UK’s electricity was generated from renewable sources (solar, wind, hydro and biomass)-the highest ever.The rest comes from fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) and nuclear power.
- Over 90% of the world’s fresh water supply is located in Antarctica.
- An average UK household uses 136,000 litres of water every year, equivalent to 4.5 bath tubs full every day.A running tap wastes 6 litres of water each time you clean your teeth.
- Cut your carbon footprint and your electricity bills by replacing old bulbs with LEDs. Replacing with LEDs should pay for itself in less than 6 months, and save about £120 per year in electricity bills. And don’t leave appliances on standby –switching off could save you another £50 -£90 per year.
- Consider adding more insulation to your home, or installing secondary glazing. If you can choose your electricity supplier, look into buying renewable energy. Most of the ‘Big 6’ suppliers have a green tariff, or check out Ecotricity or GoodEnergy
- Don’t forget to reduce, repair, refuse, reuse and recycle. Make the most of charity shops like Oxfam, vintage shops or car boot sales, sign up for and donate or request items at Freecycle .
- Find out where the money in your bank account, savings or pension is invested. Consider switching away from companies which extract fossil fuels –find out more at TimeToSwitch
- Save the bath for a treat –a bath uses about three times the water of a 5 minute shower (though power showers can use more than a bath, so keep them short!). Put a brick or a ‘Hippo’ in your toilet cisterns to reduce water use, and don’t forget to turn off the taps while you’re brushing your teeth.
- Look around your home or office –could you use recycled printer paper, print back-to-back, print in grey scale, use recycled ink cartridges–and try and avoid printing at all wherever possible.