Another blogger, Christine Sine at Godspace, alerted me to a message by Dr. Rowan Williams the Archbishop Canterbury for a Conference on Sustainable Development. (Follow link if you wish to hear the message). Unusually (seeing it was Dr. Williams), I agreed wholeheartedly with the essence of the message – as far as it went. Dr. Williams’ question: what legacy, environmental, social and religious are we leaving our children? It echoed Micah 6:8. But like Micah 6:8, something else was needed – a sharper gospel perspective. In other words, Micah 6:8 comes alive in the person and ministry of Christ.
One of the failures of Evangelicalism is that it has simply personalised faith: faith, it tells us, is a personal matter between us and God. What it fails to recognize is that Christ, in fact, came to redeem all creation – and point to a new Kingdom: A new heaven and Earth. By personalising Jesus and forgetting the Kingdom, we have given people permission to rape and pillage the earth. After all, when it is all finished Jesus will come and take me away – game over. Isn’t that the case? Not really.
The first Adam was made a steward by God. His task was to tend the garden God had lovingly created (Gen 1:28). Dealing with our sin, the second Adam (Jesus) recreated his body – us/the church - into redeemed stewards. When we fail to care for our environment we are discounting and minimising what Jesus came to do. Our sin impacts not just us but also our world. A redeemed child of God is called to live out this new life (by the power of the Spirit) but that new life also involves the world in which we live.
How can we bless our children? We can bless them by showing in our lives how big the Kingdom is. As heralds of that new creation, Christians are called to reveal the way we steward and care for our environment. Which, sadly, has too seldom been the case. It is a practical way of showing love and appreciation to God the creator and loving our neighbour.
So in short, we bless our kids by showing them that Christ’s death and resurrection is real because it shapes the very way we live, not just our “spiritual” lives but also our everyday, social, economic and environmental existence. If we did this of course, our environment would be blessed – because we care as Jesus did.