Gideon Heugh reflects on how lockdown has helped bring us closer to creation, and how we now have the opportunity to ensure it is cared for as it should be.
‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ (Genesis 1:31)
One of the more positive stories to emerge from many months of bad stories is how lockdown has brought so many people closer to nature. Forced from our normal rhythms, we have had the opportunity to attune ourselves to the rhythms of creation.
For those fortunate enough to have a garden or a green space nearby we have been gifted a chance to dwell upon – for some of us perhaps for the first time in a long time – the way spring slowly but gloriously brought the land back to life then sent it on its way to summer.
The arrival of the migrant birds. The first stems poking out from the soil. The trees returning to leaf. The flowering of the snowdrops, then the daffodils, the bluebells, the primroses, the camellias, the magnolias and now, thrillingly, the roses.
How wondrous is our God? How beautiful is the world he has made?
It is no coincidence that Mary mistook Jesus for a gardener when she went looking for his body (John 20:15). Who else would have greener fingers than our Lord?
A new world
Now that the lockdown is beginning to ease, and some semblance of normality starts to creep back into life, I hope we don’t forget the time we were brought closer to creation, and so moved further into the wonder of its creator.
More than that, I hope we use it as an opportunity to renew our efforts to push back against the destruction of that creation that has so stained these last few decades. For all the beauty of the songbirds, I am painfully aware of how there are now far fewer of them than when I was a child. Likewise the bees, the insects, the wildflowers – most forms of wildlife across most of the world have been in catastrophic decline. All of them made by God – through, by and for Christ (Colossians 1:15-16).
Their loss should be lamented. The way we have treated God’s earth should be lamented. If our relationship with creation is broken, what does that say of our relationship with its creator?
But our grief alone is not enough. By praying and working together as the church we can create a better future – one in which creation is treasured as highly as it should be. As we eventually emerge from this lockdown into a new world, we have a rare opportunity to reshape society into one that is fairer and more sustainable.
To that end, we have recently launched our Reboot Campaign – in which we are calling on the UK government to build back better. Please pray for this campaign’s success, and consider adding your voice.
Thank you for the gift that is your world. May we never take it for granted. May we treat creation with the love, care and respect that such an astonishing gift deserves. We pray for the success of the Reboot Campaign, and for your wisdom upon all those working to build a better society in the wake of this pandemic.
In Jesus’ name, amen.