Daily Devotion 23 June 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Matthew 10:26, 28-29 ‘Consider the Lilies’

26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And… consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

“Oh, you poor dear plant, we must give you a drink!” was the comment of an Indian gentleman as he observed a drooping potted plant in a church hall. I overheard his comment and out of shame sought out a glass of water to try to revive “the poor dear plant”. This little episode still remains with me and always comes to mind as I water the plants in our garden and home. My friend was a Hindu and his reverence for this plant arose out of his spirituality – Hindus believe that the whole universe and therefore all of life is sacred. I too have no difficulty in believing this sentiment and am in good company: Einstein had a similar reverence for nature and long before our awareness of climate change, recognised the significance of conserving the natural world. He is believed to have said, “If the pollinating bees go, we go”.

During lockdown I have appreciated nature like never before, whether in our garden, walking on the Downs or appreciating sea and skyscapes. I am now even more aware of how we share our little patch of Eastbourne with the insects who live under our patio, the cats and foxes who visit us regularly and the different birds nesting in hedgerows and trees. As spring moves into summer, the flowers, trees, bushes and, yes, the weeds become adorned with their different ‘clothes’ as Jesus himself noticed. I delight in the beauty, diversity and wonders of the natural world. I give thanks that nature sustains us with our food. I marvel at the complexity of eco-systems in that even wasps, house flies, snails and slugs have an important part to play.

Care for our environment currently has a renewed focus as we contemplate climate change. As human beings we have a propensity to only take meaningful and decisive action when it aligns with our core beliefs. The impassioned messaging of David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg comes to mind. Others, like my Hindu friend and the poet Wordsworth may have an essentially pantheistic respect for the sacredness of all that lives. Christians try to act responsibly in small but significant ways as ‘caretakers’ of the wonderfully diverse creation that has been lent to us. Sussex’s Wakehurst Place is the home of the World’s most diverse Seed Bank where biodiversity, sustainability and conservation are the watchwords that underpin its work of scientific research. Those working in the Seed-Bank also have a commitment, a passion and a core belief in the value of their botanical work on behalf of future generations in different parts of the world.

Whatever belief system enthuses people to act with care for the world around us matters not a jot to me. What I do know, is that if we passionately believe in something we will ‘move mountains’ to honour that belief. This must surely be a significant aspect of any realistic belief system, so that future generations do not have to say: “Oh you poor dear Planet”!

Prayer:
may these words by Shirley Erena Murray be our prayer today:

Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently. Nourish the life of the world in our care:
gift of great wonder, ours to surrender, trust for the children tomorrow will bear.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Gordon Harrison.
Image freely available online.
Sentence from StF 729 © 1992, Hope Publishing Company.

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