Words that changed the course of my day on Monday. A missed e-mail during half-term meant that this was news to me! So in the short time just before the CAP Life Skills course final session the following ideas weaved themselves together into a message for that day. I share it below….
Thank you to Martin who sent me a video which I watched this morning of Phil Moore talking about the Christian response to the environmental crisis. He quoted Greta Thunberg, “I don’t want your hope. I want your panic – act as if the house is on fire”.
Moore’s conclusion is that we need to pray planet sized prayers! God is the sustainer and creator of earth. It is his and everything in it. He gave us the job to look after the earth. It is a bit like when we borrow someones house or car. It says something about what we think of them if we hand it back damaged or dirty or broken. The earth is God’s and everything in it – so our job is to look after it as respect for his love for us and a mark of our love for him. We therefore need to change our ways to clean it up BUT we don’t “save” the planet. Only God can do that.
Hence we need to pray “planet sized prayers”.
What does that mean for us?
Well, if we can confidently pray planet sized prayers to the creator of heaven and earth then  that same “bigger than planet sized problems” God is the one that lives in us and walks with us.
In assembly on Monday I was talking about Joshua who was told “be strong and courageous, for I am with you”
Do not be afraid. I am with you.
Jesus’ last words to the disciples in Matthew’s gospel were “I will be with you until the end of the age”. In other words, until I return, to make all this world new and perfect again, like it was in the beginning, I will be with you in the mess and in the pain and in the brokenness. I will celebrate the victories with you – I am present by my Spirit. Just believe in me, the one the Father sent.
Jesus shared some ways to live while up the mountain teaching the crowds and his disciples. They are all upside down when we look at the teaching of the world. We find these beatitudes in Matthew 5.
Blessed are the poor in spirit – those who know that they cannot do it on their own, those who trust and seek help – for them the Kingdom
Blessings for those who mourn – all who suffer loss of any kind – for them comfort.
Bless the meek – those who are least and lost in our society – they, not the rich and strong and powerful – will inherit the earth.
Hunger for rightesousness – for God’s will to be done? ; you will be filled – more of God to overflowing
Show mercy – to get mercy
Be pure in heart to see God
And the peacemakers – those who pour oil on troubled waters, respect others, uphold the truth, challenge injustice, listen to and bless enemies – they are the Sons of God
Finally, not everyone will agree and many may challenge you and call you names, even set out to hurt you – but yours is the kingdom. An eternal inheritance beyond this earth and full of the blessings of God in it.
The God of planet sized solutions looks at the world quite differently to the way we see it. A life centered on him is far greater than any money, power or strength that the world can provide.
Finally, how do we know what this looks like?
Paul wrote to the Galatians about what a life lived for and by the Spirit of God looks like (Gal 5:22). The fruits of the Spirit are…
Self control
Becoming more Christ like,  for those that believe, when we say “yes” to Jesus, the one who can receive our “planet sized prayers” , brings all this fruit into the world.
Let’s pray….
Post Script
How much does the world, and the UK especially, need this fruit today and every day as we spend time to remember those who fell defending those very values in two world wars and in conflicts throughout the world that continue to this day….
We will remember them
Will you pray your planet sized prayers today….?
God bless
Rev Doug McHardie
Vicar, Christ Church Purley