Welcome to our first 2019 edition of Zion News. I would like to make an announcement; that is that 2019 will be a year when we focus upon the beauty of Creation. However this is not to be simply a naval gazing, or indeed a sunrise or hillside gazing exercise we hope that together we will grasp afresh God's commission for us to 'Care for the Creation.'
The world that we live in is indeed deeply beautiful, this morning when I awoke and pulled back the curtains I was faced with the lingering splendour of a nearly full moon. Just days ago people around the world marvelled at a lunar eclipse which created a 'Super Blood Wolf Moon.' It happened at 3.30am UK time, so many of us caught the effects only via newsreel, but it struck me just how glorious and mysterious the world in which we live really is.
However alongside the beauty and awe of our delicate, glorious world, we are also more and more aware of the impact that our unfettered lifestyle is having. Last year the BBC program 'Drowning in Plastic' served as a wake up call for many. Even within the trailer the presenter when faced with a river totally rubbished in plastic announced, 'My God, just look at it.' Sadly God does look at it, just as Whales and sea birds have to swim in it and Turtles seem prone to digest it. Eve in the Mythical garden of Eden was faced with the dilemma of whether to consume the apple, now we must ask do our lifestyles really demand that we need to consume plastic in such vast quantities.
Of course plastics are just one symptom of humanities ability to degrade the gift of life that we have been given. The problems are immense. However I believe an awakened church can support an awakening world. Jesus said his followers were to be 'The light of the world.' (LED lights of course!) Our hope during the course of the year is to encourage each one of us to consider what steps we are called to take, to move the balance of our earthly footprint away from degradation and back towards cherishing sustainability. I also hope that we may be able to build some partnerships with others towards a common cause of sustainability. (Ideas are already beginning to bubble including a Repair Café, Waste Partnership or even a one of 2nd hand book fair, but I'm sure God can guide our imagination and our partnerships.)
So how may you get involved. Well of course we are all already involved. Our lifestyle determines how much we consume and whether we try to reduce this or reuse and share things. Are we serious about recycling or making sustainable decisions around transport? As a whole church we will focus on Care for Creation particularly in the summer, around our Church Weekend away at Hill House. We want to make this whole weekend adventure as close to Carbon Neutral as we possibly can, so we're already planning a coach to transport us alongside inspiring teaching and activities. It is my prayer that each of us will individually decide to modify at least one aspect of our lifestyle, as well as that we become a church which takes this issue as seriously as we have taken Fair Trade and whole life discipleship in the past. They are after all, all connected.
In our magazine Eric has written a review of Ruth Valerio's book, 'Just Living.' Her teaching may well help to guide us. We will also highlight this theme in our daily prayer guide. So please pray with me that God will guide us and help us to address this urgent demand upon our discipleship that we cherish this beautiful world he has gifted to us. May we be good stewards in order that all life may flourish. On which note I am delighted to also announce that on 15th and 16th June we will host a Flower Show: beautiful!