Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Earth Belongs to God

Psalm 24:1-2

Good morning,

During the week you might have heard in the news that the United Nations Climate Change Panel is now 95% certain that climate change is caused by humans (up from 90% in its previous report.)

Climate change is a big issue for politicians and businesses. We've seen the carbon tax introduced, dramatically reduce Australia's carbon emissions and now about to be axed and replaced with a different scheme, which will hopefully have as much of an effect. This is an issue world leaders need to work on at a global level.

It's also an issue for us, in our own homes and community, in how we exercise our faith daily. Human beings are breaking the earth, and it's not ours to break. It's God's. Human beings have the task of caring for the earth. But the earth is God's handiwork and God's possession.

There are some simple things we can do to minimise our carbon impact: we can turn off standby power on products (turn things off at the wall when we are not using them); turn off lights when we're leaving the room (if there's no-one else using them); change to lower energy consuming lights and products; use public transport where we can; try to organise tasks so as to do as many as possible in one car journey; to try to buy food and other items that haven't travelled huge distances to get to us.
For those who are able, switching to solar power and cars that use less fossil fuels are also ways to help protect this planet.

It's a matter of using what we need, without waste: being thankful for, and respectful of, what God has provided.
Grace and peace,

Friday, 20 September 2013

Sodom and Gomorrah

Genesis 19
Good morning,
This week I saw a silent film, only a few minutes long, which in a couple of minutes told a horrible story about some of the effects first world wealth are having on the third world.
The film was called “Sodom and Gomorrah.”
You'll recall the Biblical story: the residents of the cities Sodom and Gomorrah were so evil that God decided to destroy them both. Abraham asked for God to save his nephew Lot, who lived in Sodom. As the story goes on we discover that Lot's just as bad as his neighbours. Two angels visit Lot to warn him to take his family and leave town. The men of Sodom demand Lot hand the guests over to be gang raped, Lot offers his daughters instead. (Lot really wasn't any better than the other Sodomites.) The people of Sodom failed to respect, let alone love, their neighbours.

So on to the film.
Have you ever wondered what happens to computers, and other electronic waste discarded by the first world?
Well, a lot of it gets dumped, either legally or illegally, in impoverished towns in the third world.
The very short film Sodom and Gomorrah, shows the people working in one of these dumping grounds. They have no protective equipment as they burn plastics, etc, to recover small amounts of valuable metals.

Their town is covered in the remains of burned electronic equipment, toxic smoke, and mountains of the western world's rubbish. Because everything is burned, and of the poisonous smoke, the town is known as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Only this time, the town wasn't destroyed by the residents' lack of love for their neighbour. This time it was destroyed by the first world's lack of respect or love for our poorer neighbours, and for the environment God created.
Grace and peace

If you want to see the film for yourself, the link is:

Friday, 13 September 2013

Reflection: Asylum Seekers

Matthew 25:31-46
Good morning,

Jesus himself comes to us in the form of the person in need. In our time in history, asylum seekers, displaced persons who have to flee their homes, and leave behind everything to try to find a safe place to live, are surely an excellent example of the person in need.

Our outgoing government had recently begun to inflict harsh punishment on asylum seekers who came here by boat, in an attempt to discourage the dangerous ocean crossing, but had at the same time planned to increase our humanitarian migrant intake.  Our incoming government has not indicated any better welcome for people who have come by boat, and has promised to reduce our humanitarian intake.

At the same time, the devastating civil war in Syria is dramatically increasing the number of desperate, displaced people in the world, who need somewhere safe to live. A huge numbers of these people have fled their homes in fear of their lives. A proportion of those have sold everything they own and borrowed all that they can to pay people smugglers to get them to a safe place, and are willing to risk their lives to do so.

When we live in one of the most affluent countries in the world, with one of the best economies, it is clear that these people who have lost everything really are “the least of these”.

As a nation, we are not showing love and compassion.  But we still have some choices. We are free to tell, and continue to tell, our politicians that this response is just not good enough.  As a community of faith, and as individuals of faith, we can look for ways we can respond. Most importantly, we can ensure we are not hardened against seeing the face of Christ whenever we see an asylum seeker in need.

Grace and peace,