Bishop Rob's Message
The 4th letter to all in the Parish from Bishop Rob Gillion, who has been licensed as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Lincoln and is half time Interim Priest in Charge of our parish of St John's.
"We are having to learn that natural resources are not necessarily infinite."
Our world is a fragile place
In recent times we have become increasingly aware of the fragility of the environment. The looting of oceans and seas, the commercial destruction of natural habitats, the increasing threat of global warming, and the polluting of the skies, are increasingly awakening in us a sense that the earth and the living things we take for granted are precious and vulnerable. We are having to learn that natural resources are not necessarily infinite. We live within an interdependent and intricate relationship with the earth, its people and our environment.
Remember - we are just God's Caretakers
But it has to be admitted that our powerful technologies of production push us right to the boundaries between use and abuse. The land, the sea and skies, and the extraordinary and wonderfully delicate interplay of the life they sustain, is not something that can be controlled or modified. We are in danger of inhabiting a world that is so under our design that it can no longer surprise us. When it does, with – for instance – earthquake or tempestuous weather, we are shocked. Because of the apparently controlled order and planned fruitfulness that we are able to manufacture, we put ourselves at risk of squeezing out all gratitude, forgetting our interdependence and forgetting also our status as care-takers of God’s creation.
On Harvest Festival day, we give thanks for flowers, fruit and vegetables, as we sit together for a harvest lunch and admire the skills of the flower arrangers, giving thanks for all life’s blessings.
As the mediaeval mystic, Meister Eckhart, once said, ‘If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough’. It’s the shortest and simplest prayer imaginable, but one we perhaps too often forget. But our thanksgiving will find real meaning in an attitude towards life and a response to life that can have many practical outcomes. One of these might be the recognition that we, and our interests and needs, do not lie at the centre of the universe, but that we have responsibilities towards our planet and those we share it with, not least those who have little or no harvest – of any description – to celebrate. The gratitude we offer cannot complacently thank God that we are well provided for, when we know that vast numbers of people around our world struggle to survive, suffering and dying each day because of hunger, thirst, injustice and inequality. Also, as the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi (Oct 4) reminds us, neither can our gratitude ignore the animals, birds, fish and all aspects of the environment which are also part of this intricate and interdependent network of life on planet earth.
So say "Thank you God!" by the way you live your life
In the words of the Book of Common Prayer, let us thank God today and every day for the goodness and loving kindness shown towards us and bless God for our creation, preservation and all the benefits of this life. Because living a life based on gratitude, rather than one which constantly complains that nothing is ever right, can make all the difference. But let our gratitude be more than just words. Instead, let it move our consciences, our wills, our actions and the choices we make, and take seriously the challenge to live more simply, more fairly, more sustainably and more harmoniously with both creator and created. Let us always be mindful of the needs of others.
Click below for earlier messages from Bishop Rob
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