Today: Monday, December 09, 2019

Eco-people    (10/14/2018)

I can remember bakelite.  It was used years ago in things like light switches, and is described as ”the first fully synthetic plastic”.  It was actually invented more than 100 years ago.  Unfortunately it was quite brittle and broke easily.  But how dramatically plastics have developed since then!  They have largely replaced so many things that were once made of wood, glass, metal, pottery.  Modern life is almost inconceivable without plastic.

But there is a downside, as we are now discovering.  Because many plastics don’t degrade readily or at all, we are in danger of turning the world into a plastic dustbin. The amount of plastic waste polluting the oceans and waterways of the world is horrifying.  And the effect on marine life and then on the food chain is irreversible.  The so-called “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is now apparently three times the size of France. We have already done too much damage to the world.

Modern technology has brought enormous benefits. Plastics are used extensively in medical work, space research, industry and our local shops.  But we are only now beginning to work out what to do with it once it is no longer useful. 

There seem to me to be three major reasons for Christians to express concern in this area.

  1. We live in God’s beautiful creation.  We dishonour God when we mistreat it.
  2. We owe it to our children and their children to give them a better world than the one we came into.
  3. It is an expression of love and concern to recognise that what I do affects the lives of others.

The most basic commands Jesus gave us were - to love God and to love our neighbour (see Mark 12, verses 30-31).  So fundamental are these commands that love for neighbour is sometimes called ‘the royal law’.

Christians are on occasions criticised for not being very concerned for the planet, either because they believe it will not survive long, or because of the command to “fill the earth and subdue it, ruling over every living creature…” (Genesis 1, verse 28).  But that needs to be countered with the fact that this is a God-made world.  In the great vision of God’s work at the beginning of John’s gospel (John 1, verse 3) are the words, “Through him (Jesus) God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.”

These words of some Christian leaders in America sum up our concern: “Global poverty, environmental damage, violent conflict, weapons of mass destruction, and deadly diseases ultimately affect us all; we need wise political leadership to deal with each of these.”

It must be part of our love for God that we love and respect what God has made.  We honour God, and his Son who walked on this earth, by honouring the creation.


Give thanks for the amazing gifts of God’s creation and all that we are able to do with them for good.  Lord, help us to treasure your gifts, to honour your work and to respect the material and living world - in which and for which Christ died.

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