Those in touch with the land know that there is something strange going on.
Climate change is no longer a future possibility but a present experience. Who knows what the future will hold? We may side with the sceptics or cheer on the doomsters, but there can be little doubt that many people in our carbon-addicted society have lost touch with a proper sense of dependence on the earth. Perhaps there is a ‘coming home’ to be done, which is both a return to God and an acknowledgement of our responsibility to care for the earth and its creatures? Here is a familiar story retold with this in mind.
‘There was a man who had two sons.
There was a God who, over thousands and millions of years, made a great creation, with a whole host of creatures upon an earth. And there came a time when one of those creatures came to understand themselves to be special in the eyes of God.
And the younger of them said to his father, “Father give me my share of the inheritance that is due to me.” And he divided his living between them.
And the humans said to God, “give us our inheritance,” and they plundered the earth with mines and drills and rigs, sucking out the black treasure, consuming it in their machines and spewing the gas into the sky.
Not many days later the younger son gathered all that he had and went on a journey to a far country, and there he squandered his inheritance in loose living
A great economic system arose fuelled by deep level passions, based on conspicuous consumption and using the black treasure. The people travelled everywhere and nowhere. Forests were destroyed. It was party time. The air was filled with… laughter. But the clouds were gathering.
The Prodigal Civilisation
And when it had all gone, a great famine arose in the land and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. And he would gladly have eaten from the pigs’ trough, and no one gave him anything.
It was the climate you see. They hadn’t thought of that. And once they had, it was too late. The animals and plants began to disappear. The desert spread. The wells grew deeper. Water… Anxious people… Angry people… Violent people. The rich built castles. The poor made battering rams.
And then he realised. He said “why; even my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare but I perish here with hunger. I will arise and go to my Father and say, ‘Father I have
done wrong against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son, treat me as one of your hired servants.’”
And a few began to dream of a home, they saw a vision of God surrounded by the creatures of the earth, they dreamed of living at peace with God and the creation and they set out to make that real.
And he arose and set out for his father. And when he was far off his father saw him and had compassion and ran and embraced him.’
And I will leave you to fill in the rest of the story.
Chris Sunderland Co-ordinator of Agora
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