24 Oct 2021
24 October 2021

24 Oct 2021

Passage: Psalm 104:1, 10-18
Service Type:

Climate Sunday: COP 26

(Psalm 104:1, 10-18)

Our reading from Psalm 104 demonstrates an intimate knowledge of creation. The psalmist describes the beauty of creation, declaring,

‘How many are your works, Lord!

    In wisdom you made them all;

   the earth is full of your creatures.’ (v 24)

The author understood how creation works. They knew where the birds nest, and where the mountain goats live, the great skill of a lion as it hunts its prey, and the vast array of creatures living in the water.

They knew creation intimately: they must have spent time observing and learning how all things fit together, and they were inspired to worship as a result! In verse 31 of the psalm, just after the part we’ve heard this morning, it says God rejoices in his creation. The beauty and variety of all he’s made brings God joy!

Similarly, in the New Testament, Jesus demonstrates his own detailed understanding of creation. Many of his parables use nature. Jesus talked about the birds of heaven and the flowers of the field. He describes a sower sowing seed, and the issues that can hinder the growth of crops: he knows how drought can cause plants to wither, or how rocky ground prevents the development of roots. Even though he was a carpenter by trade, he knew the importance of nutritious soil for a bountiful harvest. Jesus has an intimate knowledge of the workings of creation.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to us; the Bible tells us how all things were created for Jesus and by Jesus. In him, all things hold together: he’s Lord of all creation. It’s not a surprise that Jesus considers it important to observe the creation around us.

But Jesus shows us something else too. He teaches us that not only does he have an intimate relationship with creation, but that also we can learn about our heavenly Father through it. Whether it’s through the relentlessness of weeds, the character of birds or the power of a mustard seed, time and again, Jesus points to the Father and the way he works through creation.

We live in a busy world and often fail to take time to observe creation, but as the writer of Proverbs advises, ‘Go to the ant... consider its ways.’

From the psalms to the gospels, we see the ways creation can reveal more of God’s character and inspire us to worship, and we see how God delights and finds joy in all he’s made!

But when we look at the world today, we can see the many ways that we’ve damaged this beautiful gift God has given us. The ways that we live and work and consume have pushed creation to breaking point.

Whether it’s plastic pollution littering seas and the poorest communities, or species going extinct at record rates, or the climate crisis making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and severe, we’ve misused and damaged this beautiful gift of God.

We’re feeling some of the effects in the UK, but the impacts are hitting people in poverty the hardest.

It’s hard to grasp what that really means: it’s big and abstract. So let me quickly introduce you to Orbisa. This video produced by Tearfund tells her story.

Video of Orbisa: www.tearfund.org/actresources  

As the video explains, In the Bible Jesus tells us the most important commandments are to love God, and to love our neighbours. Tackling the climate crisis is vital to both of these – honouring God by protecting his creation and loving our global neighbours who are hit first and worst by what is now a climate emergency.

The world is broken, but it is God’s mission to bring restoration and reconciliation. Let’s watch another video which explains how God is restoring the world: https://vimeo.com/451780056/841556a0a7

What this video tells us is that the world is crying out, but God is at work and we’re invited to join him in a ministry of reconciliation – reconciling people to their Father, but also reconciling people to the creation we’ve been given to steward, and seeing it restored. This is the fullness of the gospel, not a side issue.

So how can we respond?

To answer that question, let’s turn to Esther in the Old Testament. In the face of a crisis, she responds with faith and courage. Adjoa spoke about Esther two weeks ago.

Esther, a young Jewish woman, is married to Xerxes, the mighty Persian king. Xerxes, makes plans to wipe out the Jews, but Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, warns her about the plan. Esther’s response to the news of the threat to her people is remarkable. After some hesitation, she tells Mordecai to gather people together to pray and fast. While they do so, she will approach the king and ask him to reconsider – even though she knows that it is against the law and she could lose her life.

In chapter 4 she says to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’

Esther teaches us that following Jesus requires us to speak up against injustice, even when it’s costly to ourselves – and that we should act from a foundation of prayer.

So I want to invite you this morning to commit to both of these things: to prayer and to action, so that we can address the huge injustice of climate change and its impact on the poorest people around the world.

Tearfund is running the Reboot campaign this year, and together with The Climate Coalition they are calling on the UK government to lead the world in delivering a post-coronavirus recovery that is healthier, greener and fairer and one that puts us on track to tackle climate change.

In this campaign, they are calling for greater support for people in poverty who are most vulnerable to climate change, and for more investment in renewable energy around the world. We are at a turning point in history, and the decisions we make now will affect our economy, society and the climate for decades to come. COP 26, the UN Climate Summit, starts in Glasgow in one week’s time, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the future of our planet depends what’s decided there.

On the screen there is a link to Tearfund’s website. Please could you click on it and have a look at the declaration.


You’ll see there’s a place for you to add your voice to The Climate Coalition’s declaration by writing your name and address.

When we speak up together, we can make a real difference; we can stand alongside Orbisa and call on the government to take action. If you would like to sign it, you can pause the video now or sign it afterwards.

As part of this campaign Tearfund is inviting us to pray about the climate crisis too. As we contemplate the scale of the climate crisis, it’s important that we keep our eyes fixed on God. He is the God of justice and restoration, who cares for the poor and is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Let’s stand alongside Orbisa, and all of those impacted by climate change around the world, in our prayers and by taking action. Let’s pray.

Father God, we thank you that you are a God of justice.

Thank you that you know Orbisa and her family, and all those already impacted by climate change.

Jesus, we are sorry for the ways we’ve damaged your creation. Help us make changes in our own lives to love our global neighbours well.

Holy Spirit, stir the hearts of our government and governments around the world. Guide them in all their decision-making, especially at COP 26, and inspire them to protect the most vulnerable.



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