As I relax in my hammock, I watch the bees collecting pollen from my lavender bush and soft white clouds floating across a vast blue sky. The lyrics of that wonderful old hymn come to mind:
“O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made”
As the night draws in, I duck as a bat dips a little too close to me. Overhead the sky fills with diamonds, sparkling.
"I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed”
Venus shines more brightly than before - apparently, it’s the reduction of air traffic. Who’d have thought this pandemic would give the world a chance to rest, restore and recover? Coronavirus, the deadly disease, has provided us with a glimpse of a cleaner world!
Normally, I am too busy with work to begin to consider the big questions of life. How will this pandemic affect the lives of people in developing countries? How should I respond to Black Lives Matter? Being on furlough has provided me with extra time to contemplate some of these big questions, rather than sweep them under the carpet.
What has happened to climate change? Is it over? Have we just forgotten about it? Does it still matter? Whilst we’re all consumed with coronavirus, other events are happening across the globe. We’re just not hearing about them. What about the floods in Kenya caused by climate change which have been washing away the livelihoods of the most vulnerable? This doesn’t make big news, but this is happening and it does matter.
Just before lockdown, I heard Rev Dr Mark Siddall speak at a conference about Hope for a Creation in Crisis. He acted out the well-known parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The son asks for his inheritance early. He goes out into the world and spends it without thinking about the future or the consequences. Finally, he has nothing left and ends up with the pigs. It is then that he realises his mistake and turns back to his father who receives him with open arms.
Mark Siddall says this is like us. We’ve squandered our inheritance (the world and it’s natural resources). We’ve driven our cars and flown planes until the air is filled with pollution. Our world is choking. Is this the point where we, the human race, turn to God and say we’re sorry?
Since his talk, life has changed. We’ve stopped using our cars (although as I write this, I’m more aware of traffic than I have been for the past three months) and we’ve slowed down, allowing us all to take note of what is around us. Is God using lockdown to point people to him through his creation?
This is our moment. Am I ready? Are we ready? Are we ready to talk of the wonders of what God has done for us all?
"And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
sent him to die – I scarce can take it in
that on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
he bled and died to take away my sin
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee,
how great thou art, how great thou art!"
So, as I muse over these things in my hammock, I pray that God will give me the strength and the opportunities to share his love with others. I pray too that we will continue the fight to protect our planet. Will you join me in making this your prayer too?
As I sign off, I thought I’d share with you a beautiful version of this timeless hymn. Enjoy!