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COP26 - how can we respond?  

It is not a matter of debate as to whether (or why) the climate is changing, but how much it will change, and what we can do now to prevent the worst impacts of that change. By Michael Shaw

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There is a constant discussion in our house when it comes to buying our daughter presents. My wife is quite happy to surf ebay and find a good quality second-hand toy, but I say 'why are we not treating her with the best we can afford?'
I suppose growing up we were the family that didn’t have much. We went to a private school, because of bursaries, the assisted place scheme and some money from my paternal grandmother. But I remember other kids laughing at my mum’s second hand Mini and being the last in our class to get a VHS video recorder. This left me with a sense of not wanting my daughter to experience some of the things I did.
Our entire economic system is based on growth, and it now seems that that growth, if left unchecked, will erode the systems of life that we require. As a Christian I have heard many reactions to this. Some on the more fundamental wing have a pessimistic view of the world, and long for the day when Jesus will return, and so think that this will be that moment.

Others take a more optimistic view - God will not let us die, he will save us. While others take a more realistic view (in my opinion) that God has asked us to care for his creation, and we have fallen woefully short, and succumbed to the sins of greed and selfish-centred living that have allowed climate change to thrive.
I firmly believe that Jesus is the hope for our world, but I also believe that God is just. While he forgives our sins, often he allows us to experience the consequences of our sinful behaviour. The murderer, even if he repents, doesn’t get a get out of jail card (Matthew 5:21-22), he will still face earthly punishment. So unless we make fundamental change (turn around - repent - is not just a mind thing but an action thing) then we are going to see the impacts of our sin on our world.
Over the next few weeks world leaders will be gathering in Glasgow to decide the future of our world (and I am not being melodramatic). Some reluctantly, while others are already trying to play down the change that is required, but the scientific consensus remains clear: it is not a matter of debate as to whether (or why) the climate is changing, but how much it will change, and what we can do now to prevent the worst impacts of that change.

  • It is vital therefore that we pray - that we pray for to put the long-term future of our world before short term economic factors
  • It is vital that we change - that we start to make small changes in our lifestyles that will make impacts into our world
  • It is vital that our churches respond - sign up to become an eco-church or divest our money from banks that invest into fossil fuels

My wife if right! The best gift I can give my daughter is not a brand new toy, but a world that she can live in safely!

Image | Markus Spiske | Unsplash

Michael Shaw is the minister of Devonport Community Baptist Church, a silver award Eco-Church


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Baptist Times, 22/10/2021
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