5th May 2023 Hope for a world where the planet is renewed (part 1)
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
My earliest memory of taking part in a demonstration is from a rally to call for cuts in carbon emissions, whilst I was still at primary school. I remember feeling fired up at the prospect that someone else’s actions might determine my future life on the Earth. I was scared and angry about the deepening impacts of human-induced climate change that we weren’t doing much about.
And yet, the overriding quality of my relationship with climate action is one of hope. In our reading, Paul speaks of the ‘glory that will be revealed in us’ that far outweighs the sufferings which seem to weigh us down in the present. The antidote, to counterbalance the challenges of a suffering world, isn’t some far-off reality. The good news of a hope we have for a transformed future has already been set to reside within us. It is simply waiting to be revealed, to transform us into agents of God’s life on Earth.
For me, these are the opening words of a deeply missional calling. Paul writes that creation is waiting ‘in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed’. The world, experiencing increasing ecological degradation and rising temperatures, is waiting for us to realise that we already hold the tools for restoration. This is a deeply humbling realisation – that we who have subjected creation to frustration also have the potential to partner with God, to liberate the Earth from ‘its bondage to decay’ and together to be brought into freedom by God. God has created us with the potential to be transformed if we only might realise God’s glory within us, and to join in with the work of transformation.
Creator God, You made us full of potential. From the very beginning, you have invited us to join with you in building your kingdom come, on Earth as it is in heaven.
Reveal your love in us today, that we might be prepared and empowered to step into your work of transforming love for people and planet. Amen
Hannah Fremont-Brown is Campaigns and Church Engagement Officer for the Joint Public Issues Team read by Sarah Wilmott