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Earlier this week, at a meeting of deans of the northern province, one of our number was reflecting on the span of his own ministry in the context of the great age of the building for which he had responsibility. ‘Assuming nothing catastrophic happens on my watch’, he said, ‘in two hundred years’ time my ministry might merit a single sentence in an account of the building’s history. If something catastrophic does happen, I might get a paragraph’. I found this comment a very helpful reminder that one of the most important tasks we have as Christians is to be good and faithful stewards of what has been entrusted to us. Striving too hard to leave our mark, in this way or that, can all too often cause us to neglect our obligation both to be thankful for all we have inherited from our forebears, and to be mindful of what we will be handing on.
The recent controversy generated by the Prime Minister’s speech, in which he set out adjustments to the government’s net zero strategy, was a different kind of reminder of the importance of stewardship. Whatever our view about the proposed adjustments, there is a clear consensus amongst our politicians that our planet faces an existential crisis: global heating, with all its consequent effects, can no longer be ignored:. The melting of sea ice at both poles, along with extreme weather conditions, are grim portents of what is potentially to come. Humans have indeed left their mark on God’s earth – but not in a good way.
The prophet Amos was active seven hundred and fifty years before Christ. He sought in his ministry to remind the people of Israel of their need to be faithful and to act with justice and righteousness. The God of all creation, ‘who made the seven stars’, calls us in our own time to faithful in the same way, to care for his creation and to take seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us.
With love and prayers,
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