May 2, 2021

Climate Change Sunday 2: Abundance

A Sermon with Film Preached by Canon Simon Butler

A Sermon Preached by Canon Simon Butler

Sunday 2nd May 2021

This is the second of four Climate Change Sundays we’re having at St Mary’s this year, as part of our new commitment to weave in a responsibility to care for creation in our life and mission in the years ahead. As you’re aware this Sunday coincides with Christian Aid Week very shortly, and this brief sermon will include within it some words from our Christian Aid coordinators and a very brief film. Part of the response to preaching is an invitation to response, and that response is to ask for your generosity in giving to Christian Aid this year.

The second of the four themes of our Climate Change Sundays is the theme of abundance. Our readings today speak eloquently of the fact that the world in which we live, this wonderful, diverse, and abundant world, is such because of the blessing of our Creator God. So the book of Deuteronomy speaks of the Israelites occupying a “a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10 You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.” When we look around us, who cannot be amazed by the abundant world we live in, the sheer gratuitous richness of it all. This vision of abundance, viewed from the perspective of Christian faith, finds it root in a profligate and generous love of God, who is so full of love that, according to one theologian, it overspilled from the life of God into creating the heavens and the earth. Our call to live generous lives, comes from a vision of an abundance of creating love in Jesus Christ.

But Jesus tells us not to worry, doesn’t he? Why might we need to hear that piece of news from him? Well perhaps because we become anxious and fearful when we believe not in abundance, but in scarcity? Too often we hoard and grasp more and more because we fear there is not enough to go round. Instead of learning to live the gospel message that there is enough for all in God’s abundance, we have grasped and grabbed what we can – land, money, possessions and so much more. And the more we do that, the more we think that someone else might have more and we might not have enough – when the truth is we have got more than enough and the more of us grasp, the more we are likely to believe the myth of scarcity, and the more we depart from living generously out of God’s abundance.

The climate crisis is, of course, a direct consequence of living anxiously, as we have grasped and hoarded…and it is that crisis that has lead to all sorts of shortages and threats, to those who have the least already and who truly understand what happens when we mistreat, hoard and grasp.

A member of the Christian Aid team will now speak about this year’s focus, using the following key points

  • This year’s theme for Christian Aid week is climate change and the impact it is having on some of the poorest communities in the world
  • We focus specifically on Kenya, where changing climate patterns are causing severe drought, making it impossible to grow crops for food. In tandem, they are then experiencing relentless rainfall and flooding, also making it impossible to grow crops
  • A lack of access to a reliable source of water to help withstand this new unreliable weather means that many communities are struggling to survive
  • As you can imagine, the covid pandemic has only increased the need for families to have water for handwashing – we simply turn on a tap, in Kenya, they have to walk miles
  • Lack of water quite simply really has become even more a matter of life or death in these communities
  • The film we are about to show you features Florence – I will let her tell you her story herself……

A film was then shown which can be seen here

  • You probably spotted the thing that has made the difference to her life – a dam that collects freshwater. It is a short walk from her village and she and her community now have a reliable source of water, however unpredictable the weather is
  • They can grow crops, the children can eat nutritious health vegetables. It literally is their source of life and it brings them great joy. Florence even uses the water to keep bees, selling the rich golden honey in the local market. It has transformed her life
  • This dam was built with support from Christian Aid donations, and there is an urgent need to build more dams like this for communities all over Kenya
  • Although we are miles away, we can play our part to help our distant neighbours and bring about real change in their lives.
  • Please do contribute whatever you can and put it into the collection envelopes in front of you. These can be put into the box at the back of church as you leave, or brought back in the next two weeks.
  • If you think you know someone who might also like to contribute, please do take extra envelopes after the service.

I hope you will give generously today, to give out of the sense that you and I – in the main – have far more than we need. But it goes far beyond simply a one-off generous act. The climate crisis is, fundamentally a call to change – or to use a biblical word to repent, to change the way we see the world, and to live out of that different way.

Ultimately, what the invitation of scripture is to the Jewish or Christian person is to live not in the myth of scarcity, but out of the faith in the abundance of God, a God who says that there is enough for all, plenty to God round. We have all got to learn that, not just for those we love – the younger generation who are so committed to the change of heart that the climate crisis generates – but for the people who suffer right now, for the countless Florence’s of the world. Jesus says, “Do not worry about tomorrow, today’s trouble is enough for today.”


There truly is enough for all. The moment is now, the crisis is upon us. And each and everyone of us must act.


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