“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because I have been anointed to give good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken heart; to preach freedom to the captives, and bring sight to the blind; to release the oppressed.”
What Does the Lord Require of You?
The call to climate justice is deeply rooted in biblically based Christian convictions. The scriptures provide a wealth of reasons why Christ followers simply cannot ignore this crisis. The following points are drawn from the Evangelical Climate Initiative, a group of senior evangelical leaders in the United States who are convinced it is time to seriously address the problem of global warming.
This is Our Father’s World. Christians must care about climate change because we love God the Creator and Jesus our Lord, through whom and for whom the creation was made. This is God’s world, and any damage that we do to God’s world is an offense against God Himself (Gen. 1; Ps. 24; Col. 1:16).
Do Unto the Least of These. Christians must care about climate change because we are called to love our neighbors, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to protect and care for the least of these as though each was Jesus Christ himself (Mt. 22:34-40; Mt. 7:12; Mt. 25:31-46).
Steward the Earth. When God made humanity he commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures. Climate change is the latest evidence of our failure to exercise proper stewardship, and constitutes a critical opportunity for us to do better (Gen. 1:26-28). We are reminded in Luke 12:48 that, to whom much is given, much will be required.
Seek Justice. We must acknowledge that climate change is a huge and still growing factor in many issues of social injustice: Poverty, food and water security, nutrition, child health, women’s empowerment etc. Followers of Christ are called to do his justice in the world. That means facing climate change. (Zechariah 7:9-10, Romans 12:15-18, Jeremiah 22:3, Isaiah 1:17)
What WE, the church, can do
Beyond our lives as individuals, we the church are also called to communal action for climate justice. Here are some ways
Confess: The fact is that all of us as human beings have demonstrated attitudes and lifestyles that devalue creation. We have all abused that which we were given to steward. This may have been a wrong that we were not even aware of. Still, we are called to humbly confess it, and resolve to make a change.
Engage: Begin biblically based conversations within your local congregation about creation care. Leading a small group bible study or hosting a special event is a good way of initiating discussion.
Learn: Take advantage of ISJC and other online resources to begin a social justice conversation at your home church. We would recommend the Jesus and Justice as a useful, free bible study resource.
Pray: Remember in prayer those most vulnerable to climate change consequences and those who are unable to cope.
Inform: Invite informed speakers, ministers or authors to your church to help raise awareness of Climate Change and encourage response.
Keep the Sabbath: It could be the most radical thing a church can do for environmental stewardship—to commit to keeping the Sabbath. The scriptures make constant reference to rest and care for the land as well as for people on the Sabbath. Spending time with family and friends and enjoying the free outdoors is an act of resistance to the pressures of materialism and consumerism.
Do a Church Energy and Waste Audit: This can be an excellent way to encourage energy consciousness within the church while reducing your carbon footprint and utilities bill. This activity provides a good opportunity for youth involvement. Get started here.
Many More Practical Church Suggestions can be found here.