Creation Has A Chance To Breathe – Eastertide Reflection 28
By Revd Catherine Walton
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
Words from the beginning of Psalm 138.
During this time of global fear and uncertainty, it might seem there is little to give thanks for and yet there have been numerous photos and stories about clearer skies, clearer seas, clearer air as people all over the world reduce the journeys they are taking by plane or by car. Wildlife is increasing – nests of sea turtles are significantly increased on last year. Lack of people and rubbish on the beaches means more will survive and will make the hazardous journey from the beach to the sea.
Even as the people of the world are living in fear, the rest of creation appears to be taking the opportunity to recover. But while this is positive news and something we can give thanks for, we should pause and ask an important question. Man and woman, people, were the pinnacle of God’s creation. The last thing he made before resting. We are given custody of everything else God made. What happened? How did we make such a mess of it?
And we have made a mess. In the interest of progress, we have ravaged the earth and have cried out for ways to make our lives easier.
If there is one thing COVID-19 has shown us, it is that we are not an island. The speed the virus travelled across continents was unprecedented. If we learn nothing else from this, we should have a heightened awareness that what happens in one part of the world has a direct impact on the rest of life and creation. Our demand for things cheaply and quickly has a direct impact on lives thousands of miles away as people work for a pittance they can’t survive on, as habitats are destroyed and the natural balance of God’s wonderful creation is thrown out of kilter.
The buzzword of current times is ‘living a new normal’. Everyone is saying that we will never get back to how we were. But I wonder what will change. How do we decide which bits we want to hang onto and which we are willing to leave behind?
My daughter is very good at asking random questions. The other day she asked, ‘If you could travel through time, would you rather go forwards into the future or backwards into history.’ I had to admit that my answer now would be different from what it would have been if she had asked me at the beginning of the year. I would have said I would go back to see just what it was like to live in a time without all our technology. But now, I think I would have to say I would want to go into the future in the hope that I would find we didn’t go back to how we were, that our new normal allowed for everyone and everything to live in harmony.
That everyone – whatever their persuasion or profession – was valued, that the care that has been shown between neighbours is flourishing, that all creation has a chance to breathe. That we are all able to give thanks to the Lord, with our whole hearts for his steadfast love and faithfulness and that God’s name is exalted above everything.
Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, we are unable to travel into the future to see what will happen. Instead, we live in hope and faith praying together with the last verse of Psalm 138.
Lord fulfil your purpose for us; may your steadfast love endure forever. Lord we pray, do not forsake the work of your hands. May you remain in his love and his peace.