by Revd Bonnie Evans-Hills, Priest in Charge, Church of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland
NOTES ON THE READINGS
Zephaniah lived at a time of great change and movement of people, only a few decades before the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. His prophecy is timely, but alongside it he offers words of comfort – they will not be obliterated. These words of comfort are repeated in the portion from Isaiah, and in the Letter to the Philippians.
And then we come to the Gospel of Luke, with the opening words from John the Baptist, ‘You brood of vipers!’
But what he is demanding is that people share what they have with one another, to not cheat anyone or steal from others.
DRAFT SERMON/SERMON OUTLINE
So what are we hearing from these readings?
- Change and trauma are coming
- But we will not be obliterated, there is a path out of this disaster
- And that path entails looking after one another, sharing what we have with others – rather than trying to take away.
In many ways these steps map well upon our current challenge over climate change:
- Yes, trauma, change, and loss are coming.
- Much has already been obliterated, and we can be certain more will come.
- The path of survival in the midst of these events entails an obligatory sharing with one another, to look after and ensure one another’s safety and well-being. You could say this is also true of our environment. If we don’t care for the earth which sustains us, if we continue to exploit it, this is the path towards our own destruction. Our very survival is dependent upon our ability to share, to consider others alongside ourselves. This is the commandment to Love God and Love others as we love ourselves. It is not putting ourselves first, but putting ourselves alongside others.
What are the ways in which we can share? Within our places of worship? Within our communities? Within our friendships?
Are there ways in which we can walking alongside those less well off or advantaged than we are? This may not just be about things like food or clothing or shelter, but rather in the way of companionship, opportunities to have a chat over a cuppa, share a skill or knowledge and experience.
What place is there for gratitude, in acknowledging what we do have, rather than what we think is missing? What are we thankful for today? Is there a way in which we can share that blessing with another? It may be as simple as sharing a smile. Your smile could be the one thing that makes someone’s day that much better.
An excellent resource, providing strategies, but also a means of walking alongside others, can be found at the website Faith for the Climate. It includes not only Christian resources, but those from other faiths as well. If we are to walk alongside – we walk alongside everyone!
by Revd Bonnie Evans-Hill, Leven, Scotland