There are many different kinds of Church. You can be a member of an Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Charismatic, Coptic, Episcopal, Methodist, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Roman Catholic or one of hundreds of other denominations including the Strict and Particular.
Some prefer a High Church, a Low Church, a Broad Church, Mega Church or a House Church. In remote places you may have to attend a Virtual Church. In some countries people belong to the Underground Church because they are a Persecuted Church. Many long to have a Junior Church, and aspire to be a Messy Church. But no one wants to belong to a Dead Church. We need to belong to a Bible Church, a Local Church, a Community Church, an International Church, a Gospel Church and a welcoming, friendly, caring, Christ–centred, Holy Spirit filled Church.
And some are realising that God also wants us to be an Eco Church as well. What is an Eco Church? An Eco Church demonstrates by their actions that they care for God’s earth. That is why on Harvest Sunday at Christ Church we are committing ourselves to become an Eco Church.
Increasing numbers of Christians are realising that caring for God’s creation is central to the Christian faith. We may have neglected creation care in the past but we are rediscovering that creation care is one of our God given responsibilities. A’Roche together with Tearfund and the Church of England are teaming up to help us become an Eco Church. This is a talk I gave at the September Family Service.
1. God Created us to Know Him Personally
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
God created us in His image – which means while we have much in common with the rest of creation, we are also like God. Unlike the animals, humans can have a very special relationship with God. He not only gave us personality–minds to think with, emotions to feel with, and wills for making decisions–but He also gave us an inner spiritual nature that enables us to know Him and worship Him.
Jesus once said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
2. God Expects us to Share Him Lovingly
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)
God created us to reproduce ourselves and to share his wisdom and knowledge in the Bible with others. Do you realise this means everyone in the world is related to you in some way? We are one big family!
“Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” (Genesis 1:29).
This is why we give thanks for our food because it is a gift given by God. Which is why we must share our food and other resources unselfishly. There is enough for everyone especially at Harvest time.
3. God Appointed us to Serve Him Responsibly
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)
God has given us responsibility to rule over the earth. That doesn’t mean we can do what we like with the earth. We are stewards of God’s creation. That is why in so many of his parables, Jesus describes us as tenants on God’s earth. The world belongs to Him. We are His stewards. That is why a little later in Genesis 2, we read, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)
The word ‘work’ has to do with service and ‘care’ with protection. So instead of plundering or polluting the earth we are to care for creation and protect it, to steward it for future generations. Have you ever used a bathroom and seen a sign behind the door that says “Please leave this room as you would expect to find it.” Well, that is what God is saying about our temporary stay on earth.
So how can we become an Eco Church? How can we show we really care for creation? Here are seven ways we can reduce the size of our footprint on the earth.
Recycle: Give to a charity shop or recycling centre.
Repair: Just because something is broken don’t throw it away – try and repair it.
Replenish: Some fish species are close to extinction. Some resources are being depleted. We can choose food that is farmed responsibly.
Reuse: Re-use plastic bags, don’t throw them away.
Rechargeable: Buy rechargeable batteries not disposable ones
Renewable: Switch to renewable energy sources like solar, wind or tidal power.
Rest: Learn to take a Sabbath rest like God did on the seventh day. Don’t work seven days a week.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)
Seven ways we can learn to live more simply and in harmony with God’s creation. Seven ways to show Creation Care. Here is a prayer you may like to pray.
Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us to know and love you. Help us to be wise stewards of your beautiful world. Enable us to be channels of your love and care for all the people and all the creatures on earth. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Here are five Bible studies our Home Groups at Christ Church are being encouraged to use during our Autumn sermon series on Creation Care and the Gospel.
Eco Church Study 1: Introduction
Eco Church Study 2: John Stott
Eco Church Study 3: Psalms
Eco Church Study 4: Jesus
Eco Church Study 5: Living out Care for Creation
See also How to become an Eco Church