James McAuley, Australian poet and Christian, wrote a hymn we sometimes sing, Creation Sings a New Song to The Lord. This, of course, was not a new concept, but simply a more contemporary expression of the idea. Most of us, at some stage in our lives, have sung All Things Bright and Beautiful, by Mrs. Alexander, though perhaps we didn't sing the third verse, as that fell out of fashion. Francis of Assisi wrote his Canticle of the Sun and shared similar credentials, and indeed if you have a look at Psalm 8 'O Lord our Governor, how glorious is your name' we realise that this is a venerable tradition which we share as we celebrate Season of Creation.
We are not getting caught up in side issues, or being distracted from our main purpose. The Five Marks of Mission rightly include our commitment to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
The wisdom of James McAuley is that he understood that we join with Creation in the Unending Song of Praise. We stand in Creation as part of Creation, and we take our part in the Choir of all Creation in singing a Canticle of Praise to the Creator.
We apprehend our unique role as Stewards of Creation. When someone we care for and who loves us, entrusts something to our care, our response mirrors our response to the one who has placed it in our trust. The ecology of this planet is part of this trust, and it is indeed an intergenerational trust. Others exercised this trust before us, and still others will exercise it after we have left and handed it on. This sacred trust is bigger than the personal temporal advantages we may see in the short term. We need to have a long-term view, for we have both history and the future in our field of vision.
Many are concerned that this is simply the Church being too Political. Christianity is not a Political Party and Jesus did not come to start a political movement, however, there is no doubt that there are political consequences to a position of faith. The real challenge for us is to ensure that our faith informs our politics and not the other way around.
Whilst the contemporary term is Environmental Studies, for a long time we spoke of Ecology, and the value of this term is that it is ultimately found in the relationship between us and our environment, and between the whole created order and the Creator. We should not objectify the ecosphere as an ultimate end in itself.
We live in a period where there has been a significant secular awakening to the importance of the environment and the consequences of human interaction with it. We celebrate our shared views and stand firm in our conviction that this is for us, not just leaves, but also roots, not simply fear of doom but also song of praise.