‘’Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ ‘’ Genesis I:26
One of the joys James and I have experienced during ‘lockdown’ has been sitting in the garden listening to the birds singing. It has seemed to us and to others that they were singing louder than usual but maybe it was just the effect of less competition from aircraft, road traffic and machinery. Others out walking have expressed their joy in watching trees coming into leaf and blossom. We all seem to have taken more time to appreciate the natural world and to many its beauty has been a real solace.
Different translations use different words in Genesis 26 to describe humankind’s relationship with other parts of creation; most seem harsh and liable to misinterpretation. The thought going through my mind over the last couple of months has been: ‘nature is doing rather well without us’.
Surely God’s intention is that our ‘rule’ should be that of a benevolent ruler who cares for and serves their people; Christ-like kingship. Too often human beings have thought that they have a right to exploit and ravage nature rather than to be good stewards.
My hope is that the pandemic will have enabled more and more people to appreciate the richness of the natural world and the joy that is brings and indeed to realise that we depend on it for our health and well-being.
Let us all take time to thank God for his wonderful creation and to think about what we can do to protect it and enable it to flourish under human ‘rule’. There are so many possibilities including making our own plots friendly to creatures great and small, joining nature conservation organisations and using our influence to press for policies which protect and enhance the natural world. We have an opportunity to build on some of the positives that are emerging from this very difficult time.
Prayer: Father God we thank you for the wonder and beauty of the world you have created for us to enjoy but also to protect and care for. We ask for forgiveness when we have not acted as good stewards and we pray that through your Holy Spirit you will guide us to do all that we can to protect what you have made so that it is passed on in good heart to future generations.