In her book “Just Living”, Ruth Valerio writes that the Old Testament is a story of fragmented, broken relationships between God, humankind and the natural world. She points out that the state of the land acted as a spiritual barometer for the health of the Israelites’ relationships with God and with each other. She illustrates this by referring to Amos, where because the people had turned away from God and didn’t practice social justice, the land responded accordingly and there was environmental upheaval. In contrast, when people turn back to God, the trees, mountains and hills will rejoice (Isaiah 55). She adds that Jesus came to restore our relationship with God, to restore our relationships with each other and to restore the broken relationship between ourselves and the wider creation.
As I write, there is huge concern over the number of fires in the Amazon rain-forests, depleting the world’s supply of oxygen and devastating many species of insects and wild animals. Whoever is responsible, these have occurred through selfishness and greed – not necessarily that of the Brazilian people, since the fires have in part resulted from a world-wide demand for products which can be satisfied by clearing the forests for crops and cattle. Surrounding all this, we see broken relationships between people, people and God and people and creation.
At Glenorchy we’re doing what we can to care for creation, to improve the life of our community, to seek justice and to look after the needs of each other, in the context of a worshipping community. The Eco Church Award scheme we’re involved with is designed for churches like ourselves to do exactly these things. May we continue to do our best both as a fellowship and as individuals to restore relationships and bring harmony to our world out of love for our creator God.