Counting on… day 402 

9th December 2022

Faith in Nature (makers of ethical soaps etc) is  the first company in the world to make Nature a director. Two individuals appointed to the Board will be legally bound to speak on behalf of the natural world. ‘Developed in partnership with Lawyers for Nature and Earth Law Center, we believe this signals a new way of doing business. It’s about changing the way we think about Nature — no longer treating it as a resource but as central to our decision making process.’ https://www.faithinnature.co.uk/pages/sustainability

Advent 8

December 2022

This is the main entrance to Upnor Castle. A large, robust door designed to withstand invaders and intruders alike. A door to both intimidate and heighten one’s awareness of the importance of the occupants of the castle. In life we too may face doors – opportunities- that seem daunting, beyond our measure. But here there is a little wicket gate too small for a knight on horse back but big enough for a person to slip through. Perhaps with a little honesty and humility, we too will find that more accessible door. 

Turning it round, are there doors in our society that might seem too daunting for someone to enter. Are there ways we can create wicket gates to ease their passage?

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:24

Advent 9

December 2022

“Oh, Badger,’ cried the Rat, ‘let us in, please. It’s me, Rat, and my friend Mole, and we’ve lost our way in the snow.’

‘What, Ratty, my dear little man!’ exclaimed the Badger, in quite a different voice. ‘Come along in, both of you, at once. Why, you must be perished. Well I never! Lost in the snow! And in the Wild Wood, too, and at this time of night! But come in with you.’

The two animals tumbled over each other in their eagerness to get inside, and heard the door shut behind them with great joy and relief.”

Here the door offers a place of safety for two lost creatures. Closed securely behind them, the door shuts out the cold, the dark and the fear of attack. On the other side it offers them warmth, sanctuary and friendship. We all need a safe place to go when we are tired or frightened. I wonder on whose door you would knock? Who would bundle you inside and comfort you?

Perhaps someone has already done this for you? Or maybe you have offered someone else that safe place? 

At Christmas we often think of the homeless (although homelessness is a year round problem) and so it has become a time when we are invited to support those places that offer safe overnight shelter. 

Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, pleas for the widow. Isaiah 1:17

Prayers for Creation

9th December 2022 

‘You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.’  Nehemiah 9:6 

 Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. Colossians 1:15-16

Creator God, forgive us 

when we have failed to love all that you create; 

when we do not treat creation with respect.; 

when we have sought to impose our will – and not yours. 

As we wait for the coming of your Son, 

help us to show him honour by honouring creation,

to show him care by caring for creation, 

and to show him love by loving creation. 

Amen. 

As the world’s leaders focus on the importance of biodiversity, may we all seek to understand better the importance of biodiversity and the role it plays in our daily lives.

The whale that keeps on giving

The wide vast oceans, 

tropical balm and arctic chill,

teem with living things 

great and small 

And  here dwells the whale – 

God’s tiller of the sea –

formed to frolic in its deeps 

and traverse its lengths. 

From an infinitesimal nil 

to 200 tonnes of mammalian flesh, 

its life spans a century full.  

A life of daily gorging and expurgating 10, 

nay, 20 tonnes of krill 

replenishes the seas with iron,

and spins once more 

the phytoplankton’s oxygen giving, 

carbon absorbing wheel.

From the depths the whale

redistributes food, 

sustaining small fry 

that dare not dive so deep.

Migrating between distant poles 

and warmer summer seas, 

the whale spreads the bounty 

of each mouthful it digests

and spins once more

the global food chain’s thread. 

Under the whale’s ocean watch, 

krill and plankton multiply, 

and so God’s worker feeds 

5000 mouths and more.

Its leviathan frame

 a maritime conveyor belt

of sequestered carbon 

that gracefully sweeps the seas 

till finally at whale fall

 it sinks to rest –

a carbon store 

for evermore 

upon the ocean bed.

The Lord’s Prayer.

NB Over the last century whale numbers have declined by an average of 64% of which the worst losses have been of blue whales, down by 99%.  Scientists are experimenting with reinvigorating the biodiversity of the oceans by the application of artificial whale poo.  

Advent 7

December 2022

Books really can be like doors into another world, be that an imagined world or simply a situation, a time or location with which we are unfamiliar. Books enlarge our understanding of the world, enable us to develop greater empathy for the circumstances of others. Reading can prepare us to undertake new tasks, to learn different ways of communicating, to explore new ways of relating to people – and to God. Lent is often seen as a time to take up a new book, so why not Advent too? The dark evenings are a good time to curl up with a book and open new doors. 

A room without books is like a body without a soul. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Counting on … day 399

6th December 2022

Today is the feast of St Nicholas who once threw three bags of gold into the house of a poor father who was no longer able to provide financially for his daughters. Amongst other things, St Nicholas s the patron saint of pawn brokers and hence the three gold balls that symbolise a pawn broker. Sadly there are still people who find themselves unable to provide financially for their household needs. One source of finance that has proved useful are credit unions. These operate like a cooperative with everyone a co member. Members use the the union both for savings and for loans and because the union is owned by them, it operates to their best advantage – and not say to the advantage of external share holders. They are always a cheaper option than pay day loans. 

Advent 6

December 2022

A waiting room: somewhere set apart to wait in quiet, away from the noise of the platform, warm away from the drafts that go with stations. Waiting for the train, we may find ourselves constantly checking the clock or the departure board, hoping for no delay, no missed connection. Other waiting rooms may be at the doctor’s or dentist’s surgery. 

Perhaps here we wait with more apprehension: what will be the outcome? Will we be reassured or find our fears realised? Will we find healing?

There are many other times in the day when in small ways we find ourselves waiting: waiting for the kettle to boil, for a companion to arrive, for a toilet to become vacant, for a traffic light to turn green. Are these times of frustration or boredom? But equally how often do we think, If only I could just stop for five minutes, or I just need a minute’s break? Why not use those occasions when you are forced to wait as time to rest, to clear your mind, to pray?

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Counting on … day 400

7th December 2022

Today the Biodiversity COP15 starts in Montreal. “The Earth is experiencing the sixth mass extinction, according to scientists, which threatens the foundations of human civilisation. How we farm, pollute, drive, heat our homes and consume is beyond what our planet can sustainably provide and at Cop15 governments are tasked with plotting a path to living within planetary boundaries.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/05/making-sense-of-cop15-what-to-look-out-for-in-montreal?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

The issues of biodiversity loss and climate change are interlinked and neither can be addressed in  isolation from the other. 

For another insight into this topic see https://green-reporter.com/spaceship-earth-cop-15-on-biodiversity/

Advent 5

December 2022

These two colourful doors are from a street in Norway. Both radically different yet neither door stands out as being more important than another. We are often faced with multiple choices in life and feel the pressure to make the right choice. We can fret over which choice to make, regret the choice we do make and convince ourselves that we have made a mistake. But is it not possible that there may be two or even more equally different but equally right choices? The choice we make is no better nor any worse than the choices we do not make; just different.

Similarly there is no one right way to mark Advent nor one right way to celebrate Christmas. Let us not over worry about the choices we make and rather have the humility and the flexibility to go along with the choices others may make.

The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps. Proverbs 16.9 

Counting on … day 398 

5th December 2022

Making our money make things better is surely a good way forwards. 

Various certification schemes credit producers who run their business so as to make a positive difference – eg by paying their staff the real living wage. The following articles lists some of the food producers who have accredited B Corp status. 

https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/sustainability-and-environment/all-the-food-and-drink-b-corps-certified-this-year-and-how-they-did-it/654035.article