by Rev Jacky Quarmby 15 October 2021
After Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, everything changed. There were consequences to their actions. The story tells us that they lost their innocent delight in life and became ashamed and embarrassed of who they were. And for the first time they felt guilty - guilty because they knew they had done something they had been asked not to - and so they hid from God, because they were afraid.
Well, God knew something was wrong and when God finally found them, lurking in the bushes, he asked them, “Have you eaten from the tree from which I told you not to eat?”
Now here is an opportunity for Adam and Eve to confess, to own up, to put things right. But instead, Adam says, “Don’t blame me. The woman you put here with me gave me the fruit to eat.” And the woman says, “ It’s not my fault. It was the snake. He deceived me and I ate”
So not only had the man and woman disobeyed God, they each refused to take responsibility for their actions. Eve blamed the snake and Adam - well, first he blamed Eve and then he had the nerve to blame God - “the woman you put here with me …”. It was not very impressive.
But isn’t that the human way? It’s never our fault is it? Things are never our responsibility. No matter what goes wrong, we can always find someone else to blame. Today, we don’t usually blame talking snakes or God – we blame the Government. It seems to me that in modern society, we always expect the Government to fix everything.
At the present time, the big area of concern is Climate Change. But are we as individuals willing to make sacrifices and change our behaviour, to help prevent climate change, or do we just expect the Government to do everything?
In recent weeks, the media has highlighted a number of “crises”, which they have expected the Government to fix, but ironically each of these crises has given us an opportunity to change our behaviour and do something good for the planet.
During the Covid pandemic, international travel has been restricted – a crisis? Or an opportunity to take holidays in the British Isles, reduce our air travel and save the planet?
Shortages of fuel on garage forecourts – a crisis? Or an opportunity to leave our car at home for short journeys, walk more and save the planet?
Fewer lorry drivers and higher import duties due to Brexit – a crisis? Or an opportunity to buy British meat and locally sourced fruit and vegetables and save the planet?
Higher gas and electricity prices – a crisis? Or an opportunity to look at our energy consumption, turn down our heating in rooms we don’t use, put on an extra jumper and save the planet.
Climate conferences are not the answer to climate change. Blaming the Government and expecting the Government to fix everything, so that we can carry on jetting around the world and taking needless car journeys, is not the answer to climate change. We all need to take responsibility and make significant changes to our own behaviour.
We all need to heed the words of John F Kennedy, who once said,
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
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We want to thank you for our wonderful planet … for tall mountains, shining stars, flowing water, for amazing creatures large and small, for rain and for sunshine. We thank you for plants to eat, for fruit and vegetables and for the farmers all over the world who grow our food and care for the animals who provide our milk and meat and wool.
But today Lord we also want to say sorry.
We want to say sorry for all the food we waste, knowing that others are hungry.
We want to say sorry for the way we have swallowed up resources that are scarce.
We want to say sorry for our laziness when it comes to recycling.
We want to say sorry for refusing to take responsibility for the way our actions harm the planet.
Forgive us and help us to make the sacrifices in our lives that are necessary to protect and care for our planet – not just for our sake, but for the sake of our children and our children’s children.
For we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen