Revd Canon Wendy Robins- Canon Chancellor
In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Amen
The verse towards the end of our second reading is one which may be familiar to many of you as a verse which is often quoted when people are speaking to others about their faith and Jesus’ willingness to be a part of each person’s life. We hear: ‘Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.’ These words are encouraging in that it makes clear to us all that Jesus is there simply waiting for our response. But this passage from Revelation, which was written to the Church in Laodicea, is also a challenging one because it makes it equally clear that the people there who are Jesus’ disciples are not living up to what is demanded of them.
Today we are marking Christian Aid Sunday as Christian Aid week begins tomorrow. As we think about the injunction to the churches to be hot or cold and not just lukewarm it seems important at this time to think about our commitment to justice for all and how we can live this out in the way in which we live.
The Diocese of Southwark is linked to four of the five Dioceses in Zimbabwe and this Cathedral is linked to the Diocese of Masvingo. I am fortunate enough to have travelled with Bishop Christopher, our Diocesan Bishop and the Cathedral’s Dean to Zimbabwe on a number of occasions. The last time that we were able to visit was in 2019 and whilst we were there we became very aware of the difficult situation that the country and its people were in because of the lack of rain and the consequent food insecurity that this had generated.
We were told, by those who worked the farms, that the water platform has dropped because of climate change. They have been experiencing a lack of rain and they believe it to be due to global warming and they are very concerned that this will only get worse in the coming years. Indeed, on one visit the Victoria Falls one of the seven natural wonders of the world was about half the size that it had been during a previous visit. It was so magnificent and it was so sad to see the result of the lack of water.
Seeing the effects of the lack of water on our friends in Zimbabwe really brought home to us all the effects of the way in which we live on God’s earth. We each have some responsibility for this in the way that we use the resources that are open to us. I wonder how often we do the little things that will help with this – like whether we turn off the tap whilst we are brushing our teeth; how often we use our cars or fly – not that we can at the moment – how we decide what we eat and how much we recycle the remains of our food and those things which we have finished using.
Christian Aid tells us that the climate crisis that we face hurts us all and that people who live in poverty are the most affected. That’s why the Diocese is encouraging our churches to become eco-churches and we are working towards the Diocese becoming and Eco-Diocese.
In each generation there are crises that we need to take action upon and in the last year there is no doubt that we have lived through crisis, both of the pandemic and the continued climate crisis. As we consider the way in which we live and how we can be those who are dedicated to helping the poorest of the poor and those most affected by climate change.
Jesus wants us all to be his disciples and to live as those who are committed to living as ‘hot’ people not lukewarm and if we are really seeking to follow Jesus not cold wither in the way in which we live out our discipleship.
This means that we should respond to Jesus standing at the door of our lives in such a way that we seek to live caring for those around us and the poorest in our world as we show God’s love to those around us in practical ways. We should spend time study of scripture and prayer too so that we can learn more about how be followers of Jesus who are not lukewarm or cold but hot in our discipleship and our search to find ways to help those who are the poorest of the poor to lives which are less of a struggle and more fulfilled.
The way in which we live here in the rich north affects the poorest both here in this country and throughout the world and we need to work with Christian Aid and other local agencies to seek to enable climate justice for all.
And so let us prayer that it may be so:
Creator God we pray for the work of Christian Aid as they seek to help the poorest to have lives which are less concerned with how they are to live and more able to live fulfilled lives. We ask for your guidance as we seek to serve those around us and support those who care for our world and its resources.
Lord in you mercy – Hear our Prayer