From The Rector’s Desk – 08.08.19

The Lord is glorious in all His Saints. The Lord be with you!

If ever there was good advice it is this:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:12-17. NIV)

Herein St Paul shows us how to live together and how Jesus intends to bring the Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. And so, I implore you that as you “offer yourselves as living sacrifices, that these be the measures that you use.

Our decision making should be based on these questions:

Is it compassionate?

Is it kind?

Is it being offered in humility?

Is it Gentle and does it show patience?

This world could do with some peace. And we are the ones to bring it. To bring peace requires an attention to the immediate and the present. World peace will not come through States agreeing not to be at war, this we know. World peace will come when people are compassionate, and kind, and gentle, and humble. “Am I bringing peace into the world, or not,” is the real question we should be asking ourselves. We can have peace in our lives if we live in gratitude for the peace that we have received from God through His Son Jesus Christ.

Whatever challenge you are facing today, the key to enduring it lies in being filled with the Holy Spirit, who when at work in your life, bears the fruit because as Scripture says “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22,23).

My prayer for you is that in these troubled times you will Seek first the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33) the kingdom of compassion and kindness, lived in love for God and for one another.

Have a blessed Women’s day weekend.

From one who serves among you.

Rector.

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From The Rector’s Desk – 5 August 2019

To the Holy and faithful children of God in Amanzimtoti and Kingsburgh. Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

It is true that I am thankful to God for you because of your faith in Jesus Christ and for the love that you have for each other. This love is a product of the hope that you have stored up for you, a hope not just in a future heaven but in the knowledge that God’s will is for you to experience the fullness of His peace even now on earth. Being in the Kingdom means that we live in the same circumstances as those around us, but that we work in the love of God for the good of others. We shed our worldly desires for fame, and power, and self-aggrandizement. We no longer live just for ourselves, but we live for community, we live counting others as worthy to be served, to be loved to be befriended.

I was following a group chat dealing with a community problem this last week. There were plenty of complaints. What intrigued me was how few supportive and helpful comments were made. There was no sense of this is how we are going to endure this together. How can we do something for ourselves.

We have become a society that abdicates our own responsibilities, and we need as church to stem that tide and change the game. And you can’t do that on Whatsapp by the way. It doesn’t help to pass a positive remark, (heaven forbid) but you can make a real difference.  And I ask you to do so, let’s be known as the people who always remain in hope, who are always prepared to give an account of why we are still hopeful, despite ESKOM, the Post Office, the Zondo commission, we have reason to have hope.

Just this week I have spoken to a few people who have family oversees that are planning to return. They have seen the bigger picture and they have hope. We don’t need to visit China to see that there is a reason to hope. We need to see the world as God calls us to see it. A place that He loves. A place that He loved so much that He sent His one and only son and that now He sends you too, not to judge the world but to save it.

Please remain fervent in prayer and seek God’s guidance for His church as we seek to be about God’s business and doing God’s will, His good, holy, and perfect will, and pray for me as I pray for you that God will give you the strength to do all that He has called you to.

May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding be with you, now and always.

From one who serves among you.

Rector.

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From the Rectors Desk – 29 July 2019

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col 2:6,7 NIV)

My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us truly give thanks to God for every blessing we have received from Him, and may our lives be lived out of that gratitude, for the grace we have received.

Be assured of my prayers for you all.

Our TotiAnglican Mission team is developing with a number of people signing up and offering their talents and their time. Remember it is an open invitation and as you see things develop you are free at any time to send me the “IM IN” message. I will also be putting out the call for some specific work that we need done, some admin and some research will be the first things to be done.

The Mission teams first task is to pray daily for a specific aspect of mission and to seek God’s direction for us as His people. We are starting a conversation around these issues. God will use the teams experience, personal desires, their study, and their willingness,  to shape our ministry to the world. The first parish Quiet Day (14 September) and a rethink of our Ministry team is already in the planning phase.

I ask for your prayers as I minister at St James Isipingo this Sunday at their Patronal Festival and at St Steven’s Woodlands on Wednesday, where they are running a Mission Week.

On Tuesday 23rd the Archdeaconry Council met and a training session for all councilors was facilitated. This prompted us to review a number of our practices and will result in some changes to how we communicate and organize ourselves.

I have had a few meetings which I believe are opening the way to some very positive “ministry to the World” and as we take our rightful (God given) space in society may we have the impact on the world that God desires us to have. I repeat, the Church is the only organization that has any reason to speak a message of hope – God is reconciling the world to Himself and that is Good News.”

The Baseline Study (an assessment of the details of the problem) on the situation with the Plastics Pollution is already yielding some interesting results and we are developing plans to address this crucial issue.

We are in discussion to strengthen the relationship between the Methodist churches and us and this is an exciting new chapter in our lives.

As some of you are aware, I was nominated for an award for the work that I am doing in the community.  This is an affirmation for me that what we are doing is valued. I really appreciate this as I need to know that I have a community behind me, supporting our efforts (I do it for God and for us, but I am human and sometimes I worry that I am alone taking on the world. Your confidence in me inspires me to work harder for our community and to persevere).   I am accepting the award for all those who I am working with in this – we are the Church in the Community and the Community in the Church; this is our achievement.  I am very grateful to the many people who are an inspiration to me and who have encouraged and led me into the work that we are doing to restore and build our community. The last ten years has done a huge amount of damage to our country and we are trying to find a way forward out of the mess. So much of scripture tells us about God returning His people , bringing them home. I believe that God is doing mighty things in our midst as He heals our nation, and it’s exciting to be part of this.

May God bless each one of you and may we continue to find ways to serve God through serving others.

From one who serves as a Deacon among you!

Fr Andrew.

Rector.

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From The Rector’s Desk – 19 July 2019

We proclaim Him (Christ) admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. (Col 1:28)

At the end of the day the work of the Church is to present itself to God as the bride of Christ. Scripture teaches us that Jesus is the one who is preparing us. But it is we who desire to be conformed to His likeness and molded by Him to be this bride that is presentable. A battle has always raged as to what we must do and what God does. Our effort and God’s effort in us, how do we respond, react (I love that word – it speaks of acting again – hopefully better than before, to RE-ACT is to respond but we should respond in the love of God and not simply as an action driven by the presenting problem (I digress).

In the Lessons for the 21st of July we will learn that life is about Action and Contemplation. Or Doing and Praying, if we say we will pray about “it” or pray for someone – it has to lead to action. And our action, our activities must be brought back and prayed about, reordered in prayer and in contemplation. Prayer and contemplation means that we participate with God, in whom and with whom and through whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Participation is the best way to translate the words of the Eucharistic prayer – do this in memory of me (DO this in participation with me!)

In industry there are a host of different meetings that are held to plan, design, assess, monitor, review, and implement any given project. In business there are guidelines to follow and protocol’s and Best Practice to observe. (I once said to a young engineer that if he did his job the way he lived his life he would be fired!   Isn’t it strange that we can understand that in things of the world we have to observe the rules the protocols? We have to do it right, but in life we think that we can just do whatever we like and God must be satisfied with it. Perhaps that is why we are having so much trouble in industry, education, government: because we don’t want to follow the rules, we don’t want to comply!) God provides us rules and best practice and protocols by which to live and we need to follow them. (that engineer understood and appreciated what I said and repented – I hope you do too!)

I have been dealing with the worlds chaos this week and seen firsthand what impact our corrupt government and society have had on the poor and the vulnerable. While Judge Zondo asks his questions, and the press debates the answers and everyone is focused on this, people are dying from Cholera and hunger and lack of service delivery, because the money allocated to provide houses, flood relief, schools and services has been squandered. The last floods were a big reminder that there are consequences for our actions here on earth! (I’ll tell you more another time).

This week, after hearing last week’s message about the good Samaritan, I have witnessed firsthand how the Church has walked on the other side of the road, while our wounded perish; and I have seen how the Samaritan’s get looked down upon, abused, ignored. We have some repenting to do, my friends.

In this season of intentional discipleship, I again appeal to you to spend time on your knees asking God where you are being called to serve. I cannot share everything with you at once (To use Jesus words – I have too much to say to you now, but the Holy Spirit will make it clear to you [John 16:12-15]).

I am herewith initiating a Mission Team to spend time praying and working in the community, a practical team doing real things with real people, hurting people.  I have aligned a number of things and now we need a TEAM, a devoted missionary group who will offer an hour a week an hour a day, or their everything, to this work. There is field work, support work, intercessory work, something for everyone. It may seem a strange way to go about it – but I am looking for people to sign up to work for God, yes you don’t know what you are going to do yet, but like Israel being asked to leave Egypt who didn’t know where they were going but knew they were going with God, I am looking for people who will say, as for me and my household we will serve the Lord.

“Here I am Lord, is it I Lord, I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord if you lead me.” (Daniel L Shutte)

To sign up for the mission team send me a message – “I’M IN” to 082 370 4702 or rector@totianglican.co.za

May God bless you abundantly as you live your life to His praise and Glory!

Rector.

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From the Rector’s desk – 11 July 2019

Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, the Lord be with you.

Welcome to the season of Intentional Discipleship. This week the Councils of St Mary’s and the Good Shepherd met together to reflect upon the six weeks of Mission Shaped Ministry dialogue that we had had in conjunction with the Methodist Churches, a most worthwhile learning opportunity for us all and one from which we will reshape our ministry going forward. As Vanda concluded in her summary of the course – We are to ask ourselves. “What is holding me back (as an individual in the Church) from joining God in His mission here on earth?”

Discipleship means moving from being someone who attends a Church to being someone who is engaged with and participating in God’s Mission – through the local church.

As council we recognized the need to be more adaptable, we wrestled with the concept of Jesus being an agent of Change (change – the most feared word in the English language). But we realized that it was our need to have an attitude of adaptability that is key to being part of God’s Mission. We have to be prepared to see other people’s points of view; change does not necessarily just mean doing Church differently it means having a different attitude towards being church. It means changing the way we do church from Monday to Saturday, not how we do church on a Sunday.

As the Rector I put two challenges to the Council and now I put them to you.

“What is it that makes you reluctant or nervous to invite someone to attend our Church services?” maybe that is something that we need to change!

and,

What is it that you see needs to be done, or done differently ( Very simplistically – what “bugs you” about, or in our church) maybe that is what God is calling you to do, to engage with, to be part of the solution to.

In this next season I ask you to prayerfully consider your relationship with Jesus Christ, as a Disciple.

In a relationship you are challenged, and you grow, and you seek, and you wrestle, and you are molded, and you resist, and you submit. Do not be afraid of a dynamic relationship with Jesus, do not be afraid of being called and being sent. For HE who has called you is faithful and He will not fail you.

Yours, as one who serves among you,

Fr Andrew.

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From The Rector’s Desk – 30.06.2019

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The Lord be with you!

One upside about working with youth is that you get a glimpse of what the future has in store for us. One downside about working with youth is that you get a glimpse of what the future has in store for us. But that said, it is always a joy to be part of the development process of this generation and I am very aware of the challenges that we have to face and our need to assist them and to develop the skills and the attitudes and the mindsets required to deal with the changes and the challenges of our time.  Those who are chronologically advanced must remember that they have the ability to see things differently because they have the hindsight of having seen different things and that should bring hope. If we have been afforded the grace to survive our history, we can live in the hope of surviving our future, but only those with life experience know that and can provide a confidence in faith. So make sure that you are able to “give an account of the hope that you have within you;

(1 Peter 3:15).

I give thanks to God for the few days that lie ahead that I will spend with my family in my special quiet place, nothing like a few days in the saddle to restore a bit of tranquility. I assure you of my prayers for you, and ask for yours as we travel and as we rest.

On my return there is much to be done as we enter the “Season of Intentional Discipleship” and mush of this will be focusing on being a “Mission Shaped” church. A church that works for the good of the community it lives in and reaches out to the broken and the lost. I do hope you will take the time to listen to my Ordination Message – which is available on our Facebook page, I really mean it when I say that we must embrace the Diaconal Ministry of the Church, and “interpret the needs and the hope and the concerns of the world to the Church” and the only way to do so is to interact with the world. I continue to seek to put together a Parish task teams for the environment, for social development and for education. These three key areas of our “mission ” need constant input and there is plenty of scope for your contribution to these ministries.

Please continue to pray for our Diocese and for our Parish and support the work we do, in him and with him and through Him, who gave His all for us.

May our God who is faithful, lead you in all righteousness as you trust in him.

As one who serves as a Deacon among you.

Fr Andrew

Rector.

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From The Rector’s Desk – 21 June 2019

May the Lord our God lead us into all truth and guide us through the darkness of this world into His glorious light. The Lord be with you.

As clichéd as this sounds, it’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through the year. Reflecting on the time that has passed one notices all the things that haven’t been done, and all the things that God, has done.

Our Youth Ministry continues to grow, and it really excites me that this is led by the youth themselves. A healthy Church is one that organizes itself and develops itself and is ministered to by the clergy (as opposed to the clergy organizing everything and the people tagging along). I am pleased with the growth in the Women’s Guilds both AWF and MU and encourage them to develop within the parish and to grow here, and then later we can connect with the Diocese and get involved in other outreach. We need to strengthen within first.

Our Creche remains our biggest Social Responsibility project and we have seen God bless it abundantly, we need to continue to build on this ministry and it is pleasing to see more people getting involved. 

Our troubles at 81 Fynn Rd continue and we are engaging with more lawyers and more talks, so I ask you to pray for an end to our problems there. I do feel that we must realize that we need to stand on our own two feet and not rely on property rental to balance the budget.

Please continue to prayer fervently for our Church (for its people) especially the ill (this flu is terrible this year) and for those traveling at this time. Pray for family life and for opportunities to grow in love with one and other and in God. 

From one who serves among you.

Fr Andrew.

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From the Rector’s Desk 14 June 2019

Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ – The Lord be with you!

I have had the wonderful privilege this week of leading three Candidates through their Pre – Ordination Retreat for the Diaconate and am the preacher of the Homily at the Ordination service. It has been a time in which I have been reminded of my own journey towards ordination and my days as a Deacon in the Church of God (ordained Deacon 1 July 2006). Throughout the process I have had to think about how I felt with ministry lying ahead of me compared to how I feel now looking back on twelve years of ordained ministry. I am pleased to be able to say that I am still as passionate about ministry, even though all the more aware of the challenges now, than I was aware of then. I chose to highlight something from the Deacons Charge (you can read the charge on pg. 583 (APB) of your prayer books) that I believe is an important lesson for the church and a calling for the church to be more diaconal in its approach – “ You are to interpret the needs, concerns and hopes of the world to the church.” As the great Deacon St Francis said – “seek first to understand and then to be understood” I believe that as a church we need to be better at listening. We need to be able to interpret what the noise of the broken crying out for justice, is really saying, we need to be able to discern the cry for help behind the anger and frustration.  We are inclined to demand that our message of truth be heard but we are not willing to break down the filters and the barriers that block people’s ears to the truth. We are called to “interpret the needs, the concerns and the hopes of the world to the Church’, and then we can respond appropriately. In my community work what I hear the most is that the church does not take seriously to heart the real issues of our day. I hear that “the Church is so heavenly minded that it is no earthly good.” I believe that we are the only people that can truly confront the magnitude of the world’s issues, for most people the problems of the world seem just too big to deal with. But for us, facing giants is what we do. For us, dealing with the broken and the helpless and the hopeless and the imprisoned is what we do. Jesus sent us to continue His ministry of breaking the chains, of setting captives free. The world is held captive by fear, of “Global Warming” Political uncertainty, Financial uncertainty, plagues and pestilence, corruption and power and so forth. But we need not fear the power of any adversity. Therefore, we should confidently engage with the issues of our time, in the confidence that Jesus our Saviour gives us: that His will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

As we celebrate the Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit we celebrate the Wisdom of God, the power of God, the imminence of God and the mission of God. We are reminded that we have been justified by faith and that in that faith we are to go into the world and love it back to God.

For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son – do we, so love the world that we will be sent (answer the call and go) to love the world, protect the environment, teach children to read, feed the hungry,  empower the poor and downtrodden, uplift the weak, heal the sick, comfort the dying?

As we worship the Trinity, may we in obedience to God the Father, go into the world; in the Name of Jesus the Son go into the world and in the power of the Holy Spirit, go into the world, to be ambassadors of reconciliation.

Be assured of my prayers.

Fr Andrew.

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Faith seeking understanding – Confronting the ‘monarchy of fear’ with spiritual resistance

The following article is very insightful and worth sharing.

~Fr. Andrew Manning

Just about a year before the 2016 presidential elections, I wrote a column for America magazine titled “Fear is the fuel of demagoguery, but the enemy of Christian discipleship.” At the time, I was struck by the overt xenophobia, misogyny, racism and generally disparaging language of major political candidates at home and abroad. 

One of those candidates, Donald Trump, would go on to secure an Electoral College win and become the 45th president of the United States of America. Another, Marine Le Pen, of France, would lose her bid to become president. Nevertheless, her rival, President Emmanuel Macron, is now noticeably losing hold of power as French nationalists gain increasing political traction, revealing a divided France. As The New York Times podcast “The Daily” is reporting this week in a five-part series, similar trends are appearing across Europe today.

What was then and is now shared in common across the Atlantic is the use and abuse of fear. In the years since I published that column, I have had several opportunities to think more about and discuss publicly the role of fear in society and the church today, including this week in San Antonio, Texas, while speaking at the Oblate School of Theology’s annual Summer Spirituality Institute. Additionally, in these subsequent years a number of insightful resources have been published that help us think through the power and challenge of fear, including the renowned philosopher Martha Nussbaum’s excellent book The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis.

Nussbaum astutely diagnoses the signs of our times in the wake of the 2016 election season, wherein the rhetoric of fear and distrust reached an alarming level. Like many, she was troubled by what she witnessed and took to her craft of philosophical writing in an effort to make sense of the social and political dynamics. Nussbaum draws on the neuroscience research of Joseph LeDoux, who explains the physiological and psychological mechanisms behind, and relationship between, anxiety and fear. LeDoux explains: “Fear can, like anxiety, involve anticipation, but the nature of anticipation in each is different: in fear the anticipation concerns if and when a present threat will cause harm, whereas in anxiety the anticipation involves uncertainty about the consequences of a threat that is not present and may not occur.” In other words, anxiety is a more diffuse experience of concern and uncertainty than fear, which needs a particular target or object.

Nussbaum makes the case that the natural mechanisms of anxiety and fear, which have emerged over millennia of evolutionary history to protect us from predators and other immediate dangers, become dangerous when they are co-opted by those wishing to control others through their rhetoric. She writes:

Fear involves the thought of an imminent threat to our well-being. Aristotle tells political speakers that they will be able to whip up fear only if (a) they portray the impending event as highly significant for survival or well-being, if (b) they make people think it is close at hand, and if, further, (c) they make people feel that things are out of control — they can’t ward off the bad thing easily on their own.

In other words, nothing much has changed since Aristotle: political, social and religious leaders can instill or stoke fear by harnessing the need to sublimate the anxiety women and men might already have in a diffuse way (about job security, health, personal or familial well-being, and so on) and channel them in terms of a discrete, isolated, particular and impending threat. Nussbaum remarks: “Through our basic propensity to fear, democratic societies are highly vulnerable to manipulation.”

This assessment describes our context today, and it ought to be a major concern for Christians, as well as all women and men of good will. There are many who have legitimate anxiety about dire circumstances or precarious situations, but they are regularly fed lies about the causes and potential remedies for that anxiety in the form of fear of the other.

We witness this fear mongering in the way Trump and his supporters have talked about migrants and refugees, such as the way the so-called caravan was portrayed before the midterm elections in 2018 but hasn’t been mentioned as such since. Likewise, we see this in the way the Trump administration has stoked fear of transgender women and men and has sought to deny civil protections against discrimination against them. It has been some of the most poor and vulnerable persons who have regularly become the objects of fear and loathing. And sadly, it seems that as another national election cycle gets underway, the stoking of this unnatural fear is bound to increase again.

So what are we to do? How do we respond to the co-option of fear and the tendency to vilify, reject or destroy the “other” presented as the scapegoat?

As Paul Lakeland, a theology professor at Fairfield University, recently exhorted his theologian colleagues during his presidential address at the recent Catholic Theological Society of America convention in Pittsburgh, we must embrace “spiritual resistance.” Spiritual resistance, he explained, is not to be contrasted with physical or other forms of resistance. Rather, the “spiritual” in the term signals the motivation that shapes our outlook, intention, thought, praxis and protest; it is about living the Gospel.

To be a Christian is to be in relationship. Christianity is not merely an association of like-minded folks or an organization one is initiated into for recreational, professional or even personal purposes. Instead, Christianity is practiced in collaboration with others and makes no sense apart from others. The very marker of faith — baptism — is itself the means by which we believe we are united to one another and God in the Spirit. At every turn, Christ showed us that we are meant to be women and men for others. And yet fear shuts down the borders of relationship, as Nussbaum observes: “It is always relentlessly focused on the self and the safety of the self.”

One of the most immediate ways we can resist what Nussbaum calls this “monarchy of fear” is by prioritizing relationship when we are tempted to close in on ourselves. From her secular philosophical context, Nussbaum points to hope as the antidote to this dehumanizing unnatural fear. She writes that, “Hope expands and surges forward, fear shrinks back. Hope is vulnerable, fear self-protective.”

As Christians, we have all the more reason to focus our hearts, minds and rhetoric on hope. Christian hope is not naïve or romantic, “pie-in-the-sky” or Pollyannaish optimism. Christian hope is rooted in the truth that God hears the cries of the poor (Psalm 34), became human to enter into ever-greater relationship with all women and men, and calls us to love one another as God has and continues to love us (John 13:34).

As the rhetoric of fear continues to ramp up, Christians will again face a choice: to listen to those Pope Francis calls “false prophets who exploit fear and desperation, who sell magic formulas of hatred and cruelty or selfish well-being and illusory security” — or embrace “spiritual resistance.” Resisting the former by means of the latter provides us with an opportunity to work toward a more just and peaceable society, which bears the marks of authentic Christian hope.

~The Author of this article is Daniel P. Horan a Franciscan friar and assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

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World Environment Day & Creation Care

Introduction

This World Environment Day our theme is “Air Pollution”. Research shows that more people now die from Air pollution than from HIV and Malaria put together. i

Beijing, China which is the host country for World Environment day only saw 195 “blue sky days” in 2017 ii. They place huge TV screens in public spaces on smoggy days so that people can see a fake blue sky, otherwise they become too depressed.

Nine out of ten people globally breathe polluted air, and there were 7 million premature deaths last year to air pollution.

In Genesis 3, as a result of the Fall, the Earth is cursed and cannot reach its full potential. Humans also inherit corrupt attitudes and impact negatively on the Earth and the whole web of life. (Gen 3:17-19). God then offers us the covenant of nature (Gen 9:11-17), a covenant between God and all of creation, symbolized by the rainbow in the sky. As with any covenant of promise, it requires obedience. The rainbow offers a message of hope and inspiration, God is with us and the earth will be renewed. Any exploitation of nature is an attack on God as well as a violation of the humans made in the image of God. With our theme of air pollution, we need to ask ourselves, what happens when we are using so many fossil fuels that we cannot even see the rainbow due to smog!

The rainbow and the throne of God

Psalm 19 reminds us that all heavens declare the glory of God. God speaks to us through the wonders of the sunrise and sunset, through the glories of the sky and nature. In the Early Church they often talked of the “two books of God’: the book of Nature and the written book of Scriptures. What happens to us as the human race and to our children when we are cut off from nature due to air pollution? When we can only experience nature on our TV or cell phone screens? We will lose the sense of the awesomeness of God.

What does the Bible mean when it talks about the Earth passing away and a new heaven and Earth? Are we to give up on this planet? Some Christians believe that we should not worry about climate change and environmental degradation. These are all signs of the end times. Christians will be taken away from this planet at the Rapture. Upon winning that battle of Armageddon, Christ will send all unbelievers into the pits of hellfire, re-green the planet, and reign on earth in peace with His followers for a millennium. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the Apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the Rapture?

And yet we are misreading the Bible. When the Scriptures talk of a “new” earth, there are two words for “new” in Greek: Neos and Kainos. For example if I smash my car completely and my car is written off, I get a brand new car from the insurance – that is “neos”. If my rusty old car is panel beaten, and given a new engine, that is “renewed” or “kainos” Not brand new, but renewed and restored, redeemed, upcycled. We have no Planet B!

We must work for a renewed Creation, by caring for creation in everything that we do and respecting that which God has given us all as our home.

(Taken from “When you no longer see the Rainbow, World Environment Day 2019 , #beat Air Pollution).

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