Easter 2022

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Is 65:17-end
John 20.11-18

2nd Reading
1 Cor 15. 19-26
+ Acts 10.34-43

John 20.1-18
John 20.1-9

by Revd. Elizabeth Bussmann, Environment Officer for the Church of England Diocese in Europe
Old Testament reading

Isaiah 65.17-end – ‘For I am about to create new (or re-newed) heavens and a new (or re-newed) earth, the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in what I am creating.’

This was the promise not only in the Old Testament but also in the New. See 2.Peter 3:13; Rev. 21.1

New Testament reading

I Corinthians 15.19-26 – ‘For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being: for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.’   Interestingly the only title Jesus used for himself was ‘The Son of Man’. Reference to Adam the first Man? Luke in his genealogy of Jesus traces him right back to Adam.  (Adam in Hebrew means dust/ground ‘adamah’ – Adam made from the earth) Jesus title ‘The Son of Man’ and affirmation of our Humanness.

Acts: 10:34-43 –  ‘He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

Gospel – John 20:1-18

‘Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.’   Reference to Psalm 16.10

Do we understand it?


Easter is the consummation of the Scriptures, which began with the Creation of the World in Genesis, how it was desecrated by Adam and Eve’s disobedience – or more pointedly their wanting to be ‘God’. (A goal that humans still pursue today, even though it is not necessarily explicit. What are today’s ‘Towers of Babel”?
What is ‘Sin’ – basically ‘sin’ is ‘rejection of God – any action which harms our relationship with God or another person. God created humans to respond to him in ways that correspond to his nature, but Sin breaks that link, refuses the gift and in doing so, rejects God. Sin comes in many guises!

When we re-turn to God, he offers us forgiveness and a new start. A new start, a new way of living.

The Message puts it in all its fullness:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

i.e. Actions follow our thoughts…

The Easter message has often been limited to ‘just’ the salvation of people from their sins – and yet there is SO MUCH more. How we understand the Easter message will affect how we act as Christians in all areas of our lives.

Isaiah 65:17-end Too often it is said, that the goal of Christianity is to leave earth behind when we die and go to ‘heaven’.  The early Christians had other priorities. For them Jesus’ resurrection was the launching of God’s new creation HERE on earth, starting to fulfil what Jesus had taught them to pray: that God’s kingdom come ‘on earth as in heaven’. (Matt. 6.10) See Isaiah’s words,promised also in 2.Peter 3.13/Rev.21.1 – the joining together of new heavens and new earth, the resurrection of the body affirmed by Jesus’ physical resurrection – a resurrection that would create re-newed human beings to live in the re-newed world.

The resurrection of Jesus is the affirmation of the goodness of creation, and the gift of the Spirit has been given to make us the ‘fully human beings’ we were supposed to be, in order that we can at last fulfil the mandate given at the beginning – to look after the garden. Gen. 1.27 God made HUMANS in his image, to rule over the earth. In ancient days a ‘king’ represented his gods to his subjects with the belief that the gods reigned over their people through the king’s commands. Humans appointed to reign over God’s creation, to be God’s representative on earth! If we represent a loving God (and are made in his image) our calling is to show kindness and wisdom toward the rest of creation, i.e. the ‘natural creation’ AND the ‘human creation’.

Theme of HUMANS as ‘priests and rulers’ throughout the Bible. Worshipping and reigning the twin vocations of the new people in the new city – Rev. 1.5-6;3.21;5.9-10;20.4-6;22.3-5;

Paul writes in his letters that we have to start preparing for the full coming of the Kingdom here and now. Loving God with all our MIND. Paul explains that Jesus’ death and resurrection was to bring about our re-humanisation! Becoming what God made us for in the first place. But this doesn’t just happen – the Fruit of the Spirit has to be worked out by each individual ‘denying oneself and taking up one’s cross’ It involves the hard and painful work of changing our mindsets – getting rid of old habits and learning new ones. The mind often seems to be automatically tuned to wrong thoughts – or have you ever had to struggle to be rude, angry, resentful, jealous etc. etc.!

We cannot ‘earn’ our salvation – that is God’s great gift to us – through his grace. But we are called to work on ourselves to start becoming what we will one day be when Jesus returns. To be lights to others – being made in the image of God means reflecting God’s loving ways to others.

Summing up: The work of ‘salvation’ in its full sense is 1. About whole human beings, not merely ‘souls’ 2. About the present, not simply the future, and 3. About what God does through us, not merely what  he does in and for us.

Caring for Creation  & Sustainability themes / links:

A true understanding of the meaning of Easter will transform all our thinking and connection to Caring for Creation, sustainability and justice themes …

Paul writes in Romans that ‘the whole creation is waiting with eager longing – not just for its own redemption, its liberation from corruption and decay, BUT FOR GOD’S CHILDREN TO BE REVEALED!’ In other words creation is waiting for the unveiling of those redeemed, restored humans THROUGH WHOSE STEWARDSHIP CREATION WILL AT LAST BE BROUGHT BACK INTO THAT WISE ORDER FOR WHICH IT WAS MADE.  This is a clear mandate to all born-again Christians that what Paul writes to the Romans can’t be put off until the ultimate future, it must begin here and now. It is as Tom Wright writes, ‘our mandate for every act of justice and mercy, every program of ecology, every effort to reflect God’s wise stewardly image into his creation.’

Further reading (books / websites / videos etc.)

Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus – ‘How the Jewish words of Jesus can change your life” by Lois Tverberg – published in Zondervan

After you believe: ‘Why Christian character matters” by N.T. Wright  in Harper One

Surprised by Hope by Tom Wright   SPCK

Jesus and the Earth by James Jones    SPCK


Prayer for an Easter Morning Sunrise Service

Lord we lift our hearts to you. As the dawn breaks, may we carry the unity we share into every moment knowing that we are one with the risen Christ.

Lord, we lift our eyes to you. As the sunrises, may this moment stay with us, reminding us to look for the beautiful colours of promise in your word.

Lord, we lift our prayers to you. As the dew air falls, may we breathe this morning in and know that like the earth, you sustain us, keep us and work within us always.

And so, we lift our voices to you. We celebrate the greatest day in history, when Jesus rose from death, defeated darkness and bathed the world in stunning resurrection light. May we ever live to praise you!


Lord, the resurrection of Your Son has given us new life and renewed hope. Help us to live as new people in pursuit of the Christian ideal. Grant us wisdom to know what we must do, the will to want to do it, the courage to undertake it, the perseverance to continue to do it, and the strength to complete it.  (New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book)

Psalm 96.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

An Easter Communion prayer and blessing

Dear Heavenly Father, We offer you gratitude for the ability to gather for this Easter Celebration of Communion. We recall how your son gathered with his disciples when he walked the earth. He broke bread with them and enjoyed their company. We thank you for his example as we come together to do the same.

As we ask you to bless our food, we remember why we celebrate Easter. The sacrifice of your son’s very body for our sin was costly. Jesus willingly subjected himself to suffering so that we could be forgiven and free. While the cross symbolizes his death, it also symbolizes the promise of new life—a life that can only come from You.

Make the resurrection personal to us—help it to inspire and change the way we live each day beyond Easter. Make us agents of your hope by what we do for others and claim for our lives. Strengthen our belief so that we might continue enjoying spiritual treasures from your hand as we rest in the promise of the life to come.

We pray this Easter Meal Blessing with confidence in Jesus’ victorious name, Amen.

 Noelle Kirchner (adapted)

by Elizabeth Bussmann-Morton, Diocese in Europe

Fifth Sunday in Lent [by S. C. Dulnuan]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Is 43:16-21
2nd Reading
Phil 3:4b-14
= 8-14
John 12:1-8
John 8:1-11
by Sunshine C. Dulnuan, St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary, Philippines


“Water cannot be owned”, my mother emphasized to me while I was leafing through numerous pictures of my father who used to work as a senior forester in our city. Her statement is a strange concept given our global water situation where some natural sources of water are converted into dams to cater to the growing demand for electricity and water. In the Philippine context, more often than not, the conversion of rivers into dams has met oppositions from indigenous communities who have been sustained by rivers for generations; their very lives and security revolving around their confident reliance to the rivers and the land around them. Village leaders were killed, communities displaced, and sources of livelihood were pillaged; a group of people considered a minority, sacrificed for the nation’s upkeep. Yet in all these depressing events, there is one truth that lingers among the ruined villages that once thrived along the rivers of the earth – water is sacred. Without water, all will perish. Water carries with it messages of hope, life, and growth.

The prophet Isaiah paints a vivid imagery of God who “gives water in the wilderness, rivers in a desert (Isaiah 43:20)”; who gives drink to people so that they may not thirst. Those who have experienced drought or extremely dry seasons could easily relate to this text. And perhaps the experience of the Israelites in Babylon could take us deeper into understanding the text in light of our call to be stewards of God’s creation. Displaced from their homeland and longing for deliverance, Isaiah gave them a message of hope – it is a promise that the people who dwell in the wilderness shall never thirst. The gushing sound of the river will be heard once more. And with that water comes life; people will sing songs of harvest for God will restore the watercourses of Negeb just as the psalmist said, “those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves (Psalm 126).”  The text clearly shows the mutual flourishing of the river and the people of the land.

Macliing Dulag, the slain pangat or village elder of the Butbut tribe of Kalinga, who fought against the construction of the Chico river dam, presents to us a challenge when he said, “If you destroy life in your search of what you say the good life, we question it.”

Indeed, the waters of the earth and the people who sought to protect them were made to suffer in the name of development. The question then remains: to what extent would we sacrifice life for development?


Old Testament reading / Psalm

Isaiah 43:6-12

  • Written in the context of the Babylonian exile, the prophet Isaiah illustrates God as the deliverer; reminding them of their ancestors’ experience in Egypt where God made “a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters … who brings out chariot and horse.”
  • The prophet Isaiah aimed to usher the people into a future of hope in view of the sufferings they endured under Babylonian rule. Isaiah emphasized to them not to consider the “former things” but to look forward to God’s redemption symbolized as water in the wilderness.
  • This text shows the solidarity between humans and nature, and exudes the idea of the “divinity” of nature. Nature brings life. This is a stark contrast from the materialistic view of nature which reduces nature into mere “things” which can be manipulated and exploited for human purposes.

Psalm 126

This joyful song refers to the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity after 70 years in exile. The song is metaphorical expressed through imageries of a dream, streams in the desert, and abundant harvest. It is important to note that both human beings and non-human beings are included in the celebration apparent in the text.

Further reading (books / websites / videos etc.)

Article on Macliing Dulag


Hymns & Songs

“Lord, your hands have formed this world”, Episcopal Church in the Philippines Hymnal


by S. C. Dulnuan, St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary

Fourth Sunday in Lent [by Rev Elizabeth Bussmann]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Jos 5:9-12
2nd Reading
2 Cor 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3,11-32
by Elizabeth Bussmann-Morton, Environmental Officer, Diocese in Europe, Church of England


Joshua 5:9-12

For forty years the Israelites have been wandering in the desert. This about to end and the people are preparing to enter the land of promise. Although the Israelites had not always been good, God had always been good to them. We read how, in the wilderness, he provided them with Manna to eat. For years they had wandered, utterly dependent on God. In this passage we read how they celebrated the Passover for the first time after their liberation from Egyptian oppression and slavery. Vs. 9 probably fits better with the preceeding verses, where the new generation of men were circumcised, the physical sign of their covenant relationship with God. God said to Joshua: Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt’ – words which resonate with God’s rolling away of the stone from the tomb at Easter. Neither Egypt nor the darkness of sin and death can get in the way of the power of God’s love to redeem and give new life.

Psalm 32

This Psalm reminds us vividly that sin is a reality in the heart. There is something fundamentally wrong in human beings. It is pointless to believe that we can ‘cure’ what is wrong by ourselves. Not to acknowledge our sin can lead to physical sickness, too. The psalm is a study on the theological experience of forgiveness.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Karl Barth was once asked what he would say to Hitler if he had the chance.  Barth’s surprising response in light of the atrocities Hitler committed was that all he  would say  was to quote Romans 5.8 “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Why? Barth knew that only the unparalleled mercy and forgiveness of God, the unstinted gladness and grace of the gospel, could have prompted the Fuhrer’s genuine repentance. If Barth had accused him, even if justly, of his great abominations, he would only have prompted Hitler’s self-righteous defense, his angry justification of his allegedly “necessary” actions.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 contains another passage that could be used in this circumstance:

Vss. 19-21  ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation… We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The key to this passage? Those in Christ no longer regard or judge people on the basis of their accomplishments, their influence or their position. If the love of Christ is in us then we are free to be open and accepting of other by seeing them through the eyes of Christ, who gave himself for everyone!

Once we have learned to see Jesus as the Saviour of the world, we cannot limit our estimate of other human beings – the born or unborn, exploiters or murderers, terrorists or militarists, frauds or failures — as living beyond his reach.

We cannot see any person as anything other than a creature for whom Christ has died and risen, and thus as one meant also to become  “a new creation”.   See Hebrews 11 roll -call of the saints!

N.T. Wright-Simply Christian – God’s Kingdom is already here. Christians are those who are already living ‘After death’, since Christ has raised us from the grave. More properly we ought to speak of the world to come as ‘life after life after death’

As Christians we are called to be ‘Ambassadors for Christ’ that is what the Body of Christ is – emissaries and envoys of the Gospel. We are called to embrace the ambassadorial call as the unsurpassable privilege!


As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to take up the responsibility given to us by our Creator God -that is the responsibility to care for his creation – ALL of his creation. I emphasis the ALL as so often people think immediately of the natural world around us. But all of creation includes ALL human beings – whether close to home or far away across the world. One often hears the expressions it is a small world or a global village.

In today’s world communities and individuals are connected and interdependent as never before. This is due, amongst other things to mass travel and trade links between countries. What we eat, buy – our whole lifestyle leaves it’s footprint all over the world.

Today’s readings teach us a lot about relationships with our brothers and sisters wherever they may live.

Joshua 5:12 tells us how after their long arduous journey from Egypt, the people who had been provided by God with manna to eat, now at last were able to eat ‘the crops of the land of Canaan.’ This must have been a real joy for them. Grateful as they were that God provided Manna – it must have been a real pleasure to once again be able to eat crops they had been used to.

There is a saying: ‘stay close to the ground’. This is often given as healthy diet advice. Meaning that the closer one stays to the original crop, the less likely it is to be processed food. The further away from the ‘produce of the land’, the less nutritional value food has.

Good advice practically and physically but also the spiritual implication. ‘stay close to the food’.  Savour, remember, and be renewed by the ways God provides for and sustains us, both physically and spiritually.

By keeping our connection with the bread and the land, we also keep our connection with God who gives us all we need to live. This was the way of life for many indigenous peoples. They worked and lived from the land and although they worshipped their gods without knowing about God, they knew instinctively that this was fundamental to life. Many farmers have been enticed away ‘from staying close’ to the land by big companies, looking for a profit and selling them seed, fertilisers and other chemicals – at the same time making them reliant on them. Or monocrops have taken over due to ‘demand’ from other countries – leading to impoverished soil and adverse effects on climate.

Psalm 32 talks about happiness – something sought after by all human beings. What is happiness? It has been said that the entire study of Christian morality is best understood as ‘training in happiness’-  an ongoing initiation into the desires, attitudes, habits, and practices that make for a happy and good life.

But rather than an endless pursuit of happiness in commodities, wealth, status etc.  Ps. 32 states that happiness comes when we are made right with God, when we experience forgiveness,  not from being important, accomplished, busy or organised. Psalm 32 also tells us that righteousness is not about being sinless. It is about acknowledging sin, accepting forgiveness and spending time engaging with God’s teachings, trusting God more than self and then being happy in the one who leads us on our way.

We live in a culture of ‘blame’, it is ‘in’ to put the blame on everyone else rather than ourselves. Not dealing with our ‘sin’, ‘wrong behaviour’ can be paralysing if not dealt with. Psalm 32 shows us how we should act.

v. 5-6 acknowledge, ‘confess’ our sin to God; v.7 accept forgiveness; vv. 8-9 follow God’s instructions, v. 10 trust God rather than ourselves; v. 11 ‘Be glad in the Lord’. Happiness is found by putting God at the centre of our lives.

At our deepest core, to be human is not to be a sinner but to be loved.  To be righteous is not to be sinless but to be forgiven and freed.  To be in Christian community is not to downplay brokenness but to accept it and be transformed by the One who healed brokenness on the cross and whose name is and always has been Love. In a culture driven by competition, instant gratification, the quest for perfection, and looking out for number one, this psalm offers a world-changing direction.  Caring for Creation – our relationship to other human beings both near in our congregations/fellowships and far – across the world. As Paul writes in great detail, Christian communities should be places where we feel safe and can share our experiences as we walk in the way of Christ together. A far cry from much reality!

And so to 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – ‘IF ANYONE is in Christ, there is a new creation.” In many ways a summary of all our readings!

It is because Paul is in Christ that there is a new creation. Everything old to him is now new – mourning and crying and pain are no more. Everything is now viewed from a God-drenched point of view, rather than seeing things through ‘fallen human eyes’. ‘Being ‘in Christ’ enables one to  begin to see a whole new world, a world that is conceived in imagination, but birthed by lives of faithful discipleship.

In many Christian communities today, the imagination has become impoverished, atrophied, sick.

New Creation, is conceived in imagination – and imagination begins in prayer, in the images that God plants within us. Prayer, of course, begins in holy silence. Only then can we ‘hear’ the subtle movements in our hearts and spirits, only then will Christian communities start to hear the call of the new creation. We will stop seeing the world from a human point of view; we will start seeing it with the eyes of Christ.

In prayer the church can see a world where death and pain and addictions are no more,  a  world where everyone has a decent place to live, a world where children can be taught in safety …

A world where everything becomes new by an act of faith, the act of trusting that the future

God discloses to the church CAN be brought into being.

These visions of a new creation are born when the church  takes time to stop and listen to God …

As Christians we are called not to be effective or to get things done BUT to be faithful.

Caring for Creation includes Caring for all God’s children – all human beings God created, loves and cares about. How?  We need to pursue that vision that Paul had and begin to see things from God’s perspective. From the perspective of the Resurrection events, the launching of the Kingdom,

We need to strive to be Kingdom people with Kingdom values not worldly. To be in Christ – a new creation – capable of seeing  the growing new creation everywhere. Only when we can begin to do this will we really be motivated to start Change! In our lives, in our church community life, in the life of people everywhere – when we see them all as new creations – what they could be? What an adventure!

Luke (15:1-3, 11b-32) The parable of the ‘Prodigal Son” is well-known. But it has some particularly pertinent but difficult words which resonate in the times we are in at the moment – with the war in the Ukraine.

Most people will probably agree that what is needed is ‘Justice!’. This parable however, offers us another perspective – a view of the Kingdom that is not always acknowledged or understood clearly.  The parable clearly illustrates God’s loving mercy over and above our call for ‘justice’. Rather than anger and punishment over what has been done there is an overflowing of ‘abundance’ in God’s reaction to the ‘lost son’ returning.

All this is the overwhelming scandal of God’s grace!

How can this speak to us in our reactions to what is  going on – not only in the Ukraine but in so many other places all around the world? What is the danger of claiming the standards of the world, in which justice is praised over and above mercy – instead of the other way round…..

Take home message: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

by Rev Elizabeth Bussmann, Diocese in Europe

Third Sunday in Lent [by Rev Dave Bookless PhD]

(March 22nd: World Water Day 2022)

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Isa 55:1-9
Ex 3:1-8a,13-15
2nd Reading
1 Cor 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9
by Rev. Dave Bookless PhD, Director of Theology with A Rocha International


Taking these lectionary readings in context, their message for sustainability is not straightforward or simplistic but concerns our underlying attitudes and values, and how these are reflected in how we live as God’s people in God’s creation. The unifying theme we are taking is that of:


Text: Luke 13.5 ‘Unless you repent, you too will all perish.’ Jesus’ words are deeply uncomfortable for those of us who want to hear words of comfort or reassurance, but perhaps we need to hear them.

  • As we look at God’s creation, which he declared ‘all very good’ in Genesis 1.31, we see human sin and selfishness in the multiple ecological crises we face: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, waste, pollution etc. (see later for examples and include some from your own context).
  • The word for ‘repent’ is ‘metanoia’, not just feeling sorry but a complete change of heart and mind leading to a change of behaviour. God is calling us to ‘metanoia’ concerning our failure to keep the first command in Scripture – to reflect God’s character in looking after God’s world (Genesis 1.26-28)
  • In each of our readings, the hearers are challenged to accept God’s invitation to metanoia – to repent and be transformed. In Isaiah 55, God’s people in exile had become too comfortable in Babylon and resisted the risky adventure of returning to Jerusalem. Like many today, they’d become addicted to working for does not satisfy (v.2), trying to fill their spiritual void with more and more things and money. In Corinth, the pursuit of pleasure and idols were drawing Christians back from their commitment to Christ, and Paul challenges them to ‘stand firm’ and rely on Jesus to resist temptation (1 Corinthians 10.12-13). In our Gospel, Jesus gives one last chance to a fig tree to be fruitful (Luke 13.6-9) – perhaps something we can apply as we hear scientists’ predictions of only a few years in which we need to change our behaviour to avoid complete climate meltdown.
  • Metanoia – being transformed in order to become an agent of God’s transformation – is a process with several steps to it as we ALTER our attitudes and behaviour:
    1. Admitting we are part of the problem – recognising our contribution to nature’s destruction.
    2. Lamenting and repenting of the mess we make of God’s creation (Romans 8.22 creation’s groaning)
    3. Turning to Christ ‘in whom all things hold together’ (Colossians 1.17) for forgiveness and to receive his refreshing and transforming Spirit (Isaiah 55.1)
    4. Examining our lifestyle, attitudes and behaviour to see where changes need to be made.
    5. Reforming / renewing our lifestyles as individuals, churches and nations to live more sustainably, and to bear good fruit (Luke 13.9) in enabling God’s creation to flourish and all people to thrive.


Old Testament reading / Psalm
  • Isaiah 55 is the climax to chapters 40-55, known as Deutero-Isaiah, probably written to Israel in exile in Babylon. The context is of people who were comfortable and settled in exile, yet God is now challenging them to give up false securities and enter into his risky promise of the great banquet.
  • The passage can be used to avoid environmental concerns, by claiming spiritual things are more important than material ones (v.2 ‘why … labour for what does not satisfy?’; also vs. 6, 9). However, the Hebrew worldview did not make this separation, and saw creation both as infused with God’s character. So, water / wine / milk / bread (vs.1-2) are good things, and God’s blessing is shown in rain, snow and growing plants (v.10) and in creation singing God’s praise as it thrives (vs.12-13).
  • 2 ‘What does not satisfy’ is putting our faith in material things as an end in themselves, forgetting they belong to God and we are dependent on God. A lesson for today’s consumerist cultures!
  • 8-9 ‘The heavens are higher than the earth’: both heavens and earth are part of God’s creation, but since sin entered the world, the heavens are separate as God’s home. In the new creation, the heavens and earth will be re-united when God will dwell among us (Revelation 21.3).
New Testament reading
  • 1 Corinthians 10.1-13 draws parallels between the temptations that faced Israel in the wilderness and those facing the young church in Corinth, surrounded by pagan religions that encouraged idolatry and sexual excess. The key message is to ‘stand firm’ (v.12) knowing God is with us and won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can endure (v.13).
  • What are today’s temptations in a world where the idols of consumerism, hedonism and economic growth are all-powerful? How have our churches compromised the Gospel by ignoring Christ’s radical teaching on serving either God or money (Matthew 6.24)? How can we stand firm against the tide to conform in our lifestyles: our attitudes to money, possessions and waste?
  • Luke 13.1-9 contains two short passages concerning the need to repent and produce good fruit. The heading in some Bibles, ‘Repent or Perish’, shows what a stark choice the Gospel provides.
  • The story of the tragedy of the Tower of Siloam is only found in Luke. It touches on theodicy: why does a good God allow innocent suffering? Jesus is clear God doesn’t send tragedies to punish people but that we should learn from them. Suffering in nature – disease, disasters – have always been there but are increasing in a world of Climate Chaos, hitting the poor and defenceless hardest.
  • Our response should be ‘metanoia’ (vs.3,5) which is more than repentance. It is a complete change of mind and attitude leading to transformed behaviour.
  • Like the fig tree (6-9) our ‘metanoia’ should result in good fruit. We can apply this not only spiritually but ecologically to our lifestyles, our churches. What is good fruit in a situation of ecological chaos?
Stories / illustrations / videos:

We need to look out for and avoid becoming, “The Genetically Modified church, where the DNA of our societies has been patched in such that the Gospel we preach is no longer biblical.” Peter Harris, President & Founder of A Rocha (arocha.org)

Environmental & Sustainability themes / links:

Statistics and Facts on how humanity is affecting Planet Earth:

  • 68% of wildlife populations have disappeared since 1970 (WWF Living Planet Report, 2020)
  • 6 billion people live with potential water scarcity (Swiss Sustainability Management School)
  • Plastics make up 80% of all marine debris (IUCN)
  • We are currently on track for between 2 & 5.4°C global warming by 2100 with catastrophic results (IPCC / NOAA)
  • In 2017 we lost 1 soccer pitch of forest every second (The Guardian)
  • Globally we produce 2.1 billion tonnes of waste per year, potentially growing by 70% by 2050 (World Bank)

Further reading (books / websites / videos etc.)


Gathering & Penitence

Giver of Life, in the midst of a plundered earth, we groan with creation
Have mercy on us
Giver of Life, In the midst of poisoned water, we groan with creation
Have mercy on us
Giver of Life, in the midst of polluted air, we groan with creation
Have mercy on us
Giver of Life, in the midst of mountains of waste, we groan with creation
Have mercy on us
Giver of Life, in the midst of a world of war, we groan with creation
Have mercy on us
Giver of Life, we who are made in God’s image have gone astray and creation groans with us
Have mercy on us

From Worshipping Ecumenically, WCC Publications. From the ECEN website

Response to the Word
  • If suitable, the intercessions could consist of various people bringing forward symbols of our broken relationship with creation, placing these before the altar / holy table, and returning to God that which is his by creation for renewal and transformation. Items will vary in different contexts but might include: plastic-wrapped fruit & vegetables; mobile phones; car keys; battery-operated toys; weedkiller; TV or A/C remote control; tinned fish; energy bills
  • A response could include David’s words in 1 Chronicles 29.14 ‘Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.’
Holy Communion

Blessed are you, Creator God, for you spoke and all things came into being, light and dark, land and seas, beasts and birds and creeping things. Fruit trees and grain and flowers of the field.

To you be glory and praise for ever.

Blessed are you, Sustaining God, for you cause the earth to bring forth its harvests,
You provide for all your creatures, and give us gifts to cultivate and cook good food,
Meeting our needs and gladdening our hearts.

To you be glory and praise for ever.

Blessed are you, Promise-keeping God, though we turn against you, you continue to provide. When your people were in slavery, you set them free, and fed them in the wilderness with bread from heaven. You led them to a land flowing with milk and honey and taught them to live with you in the land of promise.

To you be glory and praise for ever.

Blessed are you, Redeeming God, for you have sent your Son, our living bread from heaven, to walk this earth and live our life; to sit and eat with sinners, To die for us upon the cross; bread broken, wine poured out, To rise again and lead us to the banquet where all our hungers are satisfied,

To you be glory and praise for ever.

Therefore, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven,
we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Accept our praises, heavenly Father, through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, and as we follow his example and obey his command, grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit these gifts of bread and wine may be to us his body and his blood; Who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

To you be glory and praise for ever.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

To you be glory and praise for ever.

Christ is the bread of life:

When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory. Send your Spirit on us now, that in bread and wine we may feed on Christ with opened eyes and hearts on fire.

May we and all who share this food offer ourselves to live for you

and be welcomed at the heavenly banquet where all creation worships you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Blessing and honour and glory and power be yours for ever and ever. Amen.

Sending out

May God who established the dance of creation,
who marvelled at the lilies of the field,
who transforms chaos to order,
lead us to transform our lives and the Church
to reflect God’s glory in creation.
And may the Blessing of God Almighty …

From the Eco-congregation Module 2 Celebrating Creation

Hymns & Songs
  • Take my life and let it be
  • Christ’s is the world (a touching place)
  • Beauty for brokenness
  • God in his love for us lent us this planet
  • Over all the earth (Lord, reign in me)
  • Restore, O Lord, the honour of your name

by Rev. Dave Bookless PhD, West London

Second Sunday in Lent [by Rev. Ken Gray]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Gen 15:1-12,17-18
2nd Reading
Phil 3:17-4:1
Luke 13:31-35 or
(both:) 9:28-36
by Rev. Ken Gray, Kamloops British Columbia, Canada


The Voice of Ecological Complaint – A Characteristic pose for today’s Christian communities
  • Creation is a gift of God, from God to God’s people, not just to the people who wandered with Abraham, who received the promise of a blessing, not only of future generations, but of land
  • Indigenous wisdom and experience continue to revitalize and deepen our own understanding of the human/land connection
  • We not only stand upon the land, but depend upon it, though is so many ways we spoil what we have been given
  • Local and global Christians communities are increasingly finding our voice of complaint, though such advocacy is costly. We are assaulted by those who seek to gain wealth from improper stewardship of what we have been given. Both Ps 27 and Paul to the Philippians encourage us to cast aside fear and stand firm.
  • There is a place for lament, as Jesus looks across Jerusalem and grieves–for what has been, for what unfolds in his own (and our) time, and we likewise grieve not for the Holy city alone, but for all creation
  • The Voice of Ecological Complaint – A Characteristic pose for today’s Christian communities


Old Testament reading / Psalm

“As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.” We can but guess at Abraham’s terror and obliquely compare it with our own. Where I live, uncertainty about forests, rivers, employment and community survival distress many. Some deny and ignore the present challenge; others try to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to fast-changing realities. God speaks wonderfully and beautifully to Abraham’s uncertainly. More so God reminds the patriarch of the presence, value and reality of the land beneath his feet. He assures him that his future, though uncertain in detail is secure, not through circumstance but through grace. “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates . . . “

The psalmist (27) understands the challenge of remaining faithful amidst insecurity especially evident through inter-personal conflict. He is however optimistic, defiant, certain of divine blessing and community, despite all threats

When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes
they shall stumble and fall.

And best of all, he is patient:

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

For myself, patience and resilience are in short supply some days. I turn often to this Psalm for re-assurance, and a way forward. I turn especially to the wonderful setting of this text from the Iona Community (cited below).

New Testament reading

Paul writes beautifully to what must have been a favourite church of his planting the young church at Philippi. He leads not with stick but with carrot; he is the encourager, the motivator. He asks his readers and hearers to make a concrete decision–seek those things which are of God and not of human creation. It is easy to insert ecological concerns and realities into his formula. WE have a choice as Christians: Invest in things here and now, and gain pleasure and wealth, and prestige and security from them now. Or invest (literally) in God and in those things, ideas, and relationships which take us beyond the ordinary:

For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.

Knowing this is difficult to do, day after day, Paul reminds us also to do as he has done, to remain both faithful and firm in our resolve. With the Psalmist he exhorts us to “stand firm in the Lord.” Such standing may involve standing with indigenous peoples, in protesting the wanton extraction of fossil fuels, of investing our wealth in helpful and impactful ways, of flying less. The list grows daily. The opportunity for our witness is everywhere. And we are not alone; we have each other, and God is with us.


If the other lections assigned for today are feisty in spirit, this Gospel, where Jesus looks painfully across the Jerusalem landscape, is doleful and sad. He laments the history, the current situation, the lost and frustrated potential of Jerusalem of its peoples, of its temple, rituals and religious practices. Possibly he begins to sense the danger which awaits him there. The mood is foreboding, disheartening, and most of all, sad.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”’

He longs for a brighter day, as do so many both in church and in global society, who sense how our economies, our industry, our consumer engagement, our relationships, how all of these could function better and could embody, represent and enact true justice, a justice where all are heard and respected, human, non-human, all living beings, earth and all stars (see hymn suggestion below), all hopes and dreams, all in all.

To lament is to stop everything, and simply be sad, to cast aside for a moment all activism, and simply be reminded why we do what we do, sometimes against all odds, not because we see a clear end in sight, but because we can do no other, by virtue of our baptism, or a particular vision of the future, because we have received inspiration, because God has spoken to us (as with my own “second conversion”). Because God is, and God speak, in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who takes us to places and persons and situation we cannot predict. As with the seventh day of creation, where God rested, in lament we likewise rest, and recover energy and resilience for that time when we take up the struggle again. Breathe in – breathe out – breathe until breath leaves us and another generation takes up the cause.

Resources / Links:

These are crazy times in 2022, for people, for the church everywhere and for creation. As Jesus looks out over Jerusalem he recognizes a history, a tradition, a  proactive of systemic evil amidst sacred shrines and prophetic traditions. He names violence. In our own day we increasingly discover systemic injustice; we name it and resist it, alone and together. To this end I recommend:

Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation, by Cynthia Moe-Lobeda  https://resistingstructuralevil.com/

I also commend her listing of resources for both community and engagement. There is how, and so much work to be done for the faithful.



Carrie Newcomer – Help in Hard Times – A song of hope and resilience (lyrics in video) https://youtu.be/BFebLK0T7w4

And an old favourite, from our friends at the Iona Community The Lord is my light

Response to the Word: Intercessions

Confession and Lament for Creation, Rev. Allyson Sawtell, Denver, Colorado; in the public domain


Hymns & Songs

Earth and all stars



The Lord is my light, Iona Community



Stand Firm Iona Community


by Rev. Ken Gray, Kamloops, British Columbia

First Sunday in Lent [by Dr. Rachel Mash]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Deu 26:1-11
Deu 26:4-10
2nd Reading
Rom 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13
by Rev Dr Rachel Mash, environmental Coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa


Starting our Lenten Journey

Sometimes we think of Lent as a life-denying season – where we confirm that we are not good enough for God’s love and we must earn it, we are worthless in God’s sight.

But if our starting point is the  knowledge that we are beloved children of God, the Lent becomes a time to seek for a renewed and restored relationship with God, with one another and with Creation.

Traditionally Lent was a time to abstain from certain foodstuffs such as alcohol or chocolate.

Deuteronomy 26:1-11 challenges us to celebrate local food from the soil and to give thanks. Why not take up the challenge during Lent of abstaining from junk food, or packaged food. Buy local organic  food, set yourself the ‘food miles challenge’ of eating local food, nothing that is flown into your country from overseas. Use the time of Lent to celebrate our relationship with the land, by starting a veggie garden, or planting trees or a herb garden in your windowsill.

Luke 4:1-13: In this traditional story of the temptations of Christ in the wilderness, we are challenged to look at our values during the 40 days of Lent. Do we want to turn ‘stones into bread’, going for instant gratification of all our needs? It is the instant society – cheap clothes, instant upgrades, fast food – with all its consumer values, that it choking and killing our planet. As Jesus stayed hungry in the desert, we are challenged to a more simple life-style so that others my simply life.

The second temptation – to bow down to power – is one that faces all religious institutions. How can we as the church of God listen to the marginalised? Politicians and businesses are not changing fast enough to save the planet. It is the voices of the marginalised that are now calling for a different way – teenagers leading the strike for the planet, indigenous voices calling out that people are more important than profits and that you cannot commodify water.

In the third temptation – to become like God, we are reminded that terrifyingly , the human race now has the powers that past generations would never have believed possible – we have the power to destroy or save life on this planet.

What steps can you make during Lent to join the voices calling for change? These might involve personal changes such as a Lenten fast for the Planet (https://www.greenanglicans.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/lent-calendar-2022-final.pdf).

Or taking up a plant based diet https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/vegetarian-vegan-giving-up-meat-lent-why-and-how-to-do-it-a7606031.html

Or perhaps you can inspire your church to divest from fossil fuels? http://brightnow.org.uk/resource/transition-report


Old Testament reading – Deuteronomy 26:1-11: First fruits and tithes

In our modern life we have become separated from the web of life in our food production. Packaged, processed fast foods have become the norm. We are challenged to choose foods that are as close to nature as possible. Unprocessed, additive free foods are closer to nature , better for our health and our planet. We are also challenged to choose foods as far as possible that come from the local area – reducing our food miles, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables.

This passage reminds us that food comes from the soil, which we inherited from our ancestors. How can we preserve the soil  for the generations to come?. Our current practices are damaging the soil. We need to stop using pesticides and chemicals that kill the soil. We can buy organic fruits and vegetables and encourage local farmers.  How can we restore our relationship with the earth – using our church lands for growing of vegetables or ‘bee-friendly’ gardens.

We are also reminded that all good gifts come from God, and that we should have an attitude of thankfulness. “Saying grace” should not be a meaningless daily gesture but a genuine thanksgiving for the food, for the soil from which it came, for the rain that watered it and the people who toiled on the soil.

Gospel – Luke 4:1-13: Temptations in the wilderness

Jesus went into the wilderness and was faced with three temptations  that we also face– sins that would block our  relationship with God, with our neighbour and with Creation .

Temptation One: Wants, not needs

“tell this stone to become bread”

Turning stones into bread  seems like a great thing to do. Jesus is in the desert, he is hungry.  This was Jesus first temptation, to get what he wanted (bread) not what he needed. He was in the desert to build his relationship with God and to be prepared for ministry, not to learn ‘magic skills” There was probably something he needed to learn by fasting and praying

It is not by bread alone that we live.

This temptation tells us to distinguish between wants and needs. we need to  stop running after our wants. We are surrounded by advertisements, by things. we have to have that new ipad, tv, those clothes, that fancy holiday that expensive car. We work ourselves into a debt and frenzy to do it. Do you fill your life with things? or do you fill your life with relationships.

Perhaps your want is for that unhealthy food, junk food, or too much alcohol or cigarettes , but your need is for good health.

There was something that Jesus needed to learn through fasting and praying in the wilderness. When we meet all of our wants, we miss out on what God wants to teach us through a more simple life-style.

Take these forty days of Lent to examine your life and to decide what are your needs and what are merely wants.

The second temptation: to bow down to power

I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Control, importance, power. The devil tells Jesus to look at the big city. What do you see when look down from a high point at the CBD or heart of the city ?– the banks the businesses, the parliament. The temptation was to bow down before the power systems of this world. All these I will give you.

There is no doubt that the world is dominated by the structures of power, political and capital. Shockingly, whilst COVID caused devastation and death, the ultra-rich became even wealthier. According to an Oxfam report, the worlds elite of 2755 dollar billionaires saw their fortunes grow more during COVID than during the last 14 years. This has been caused by a boom in stock market prices and an erosion of workers rights and wages[i]

Increasingly our political systems are dominated by big industries, the fossil fuels, big Pharma, commercial agriculture who have the power to lobby politicians and influence election results.

How do we become  like Jesus, side with the poor and the marginalised? What power or influence would we as the church need to give up in order to take a position for the poor? How do we use our funds – are we willing to divest from industries such as fossil fuel companies and re-invest in industries that do not damage the earth?

The third temptation : to become like  God.

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.

Satan takes Jesus up to the pinnacle of the Temple (the top of the religious world itself and tells him to play righteous games with God. Throw yourself off and he will send the angels to catch you. It is the only time in the Bible that the devil quotes Scripture.

This temptation – to become God, has become terrifyingly real.

For the first time in history we have become like gods. We are changing the climate of the whole planet. We are raising the levels of the oceans. We have wiped out 60% of wild animals in one generation [ii].

We have poisoned the seas and filled them with plastic.

We can modify the DNA of plants and creating GMOS.

As a church we have turned inward and focussed on personal salvation. The scientific community developed a parallel salvation story – the power of science and technology to save the world. Some of those dreams have turned into nightmares.

We need to re-discover our interconnectedness with nature. Jesus came to save the whole world (cosmos) and we are called to be part of that ministry. We need to re-discover the sacredness of God’s creation . We need to rediscover the links between Science and faith and lift up the voices of Christian Scientists.


One of the foremost Christian Climate Scientists in Kathryn Hayhoe.


How to create a  pollinator friendly garden:




Creator God, how deep are your designs!
You made a living earth, cloud, rain and wind,
and charged us with their care.
We confess that the way we live today
is changing the climate, the seas and the balance of life,
dispossessing the poor and future generations.
Build our lives into an Ark for all creation,
and, as you promised Noah never to repeat the flood,
so make us heralds of a new rainbow covenant:
Choosing life for all that is at risk –
for creation, neighbours near and far,
our children and ourselves. Amen.[iii]



Lord God,
You share with us the care of creation.
Give us the humility to be right stewards of the land and to protect and celebrate its resources with equity and justice;
through Jesus Christ our Lord



Prayers of the People

Come light, light of God, give light to creation, enlighten our hearts and remain with your world.

O God, Creator of the universe and of all that lives and breathes,
from your dwelling place you refresh the mountains and forests.
The earth is filled with the fruits of your work.
You make grass grow for the herds, plants and fruit trees for people to farm, drawing their bread from the earth.
You entrusted your creation to us. We beseech you:
Save us from the temptation of power and domination.


May your Spirit of wisdom teach us how best to care for and safeguard what you entrust to us.
Blow your Spirit of life on your creation and all humanity.
Come light, light of God, give light to creation, enlighten our hearts and remain with your world.

We beseech you, bless every effort and every search,
Every struggle and every pain that seek to restore the harmony and beauty of your Creation.
Renew the face of the earth, so that everyhuman being may live in peace and justice, fruits of your Spirit of love.
Blow your Spirit of life on your creation and all humanity.
Come light, light of God, give light to creation, enlighten our hearts and remain with your world.

We beseech you, Lord,
bless the fruits of the earth and the work of our hands and teach us to share the abundance of your goods.
Send rain to the dry soil, sun and fair weather where harvest is endangered by storms.
Blow your Spirit of life on your creation and all humanity.
Come light, light of God, give light to creation, enlighten our hearts and remain with your world.

From you, O Lord our God, come all gifts, and we give you thanks.
Hear the sigh raising from your creation, gather the suffering of all people,
Send us your blessing, so that we may live, in its fullness, the new life
Which you offer us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. [v]


Leader Blessed are you, Lord God of the universe,
you are the giver of this bread,
fruit of the earth and of human labour,
let it become the bread of Life.
All Blessed be God, now and forever!
Leader Blessed are you, Lord God of the universe,
you are the giver of this wine,
fruit of the vine and of human labour,
let it become the wine of the eternal Kingdom.
All Blessed be God, now and forever!

Leader As the grain once scattered in the fields
and the grapes once dispersed on the
hillside are now reunited on this table
in bread and wine,
so, Lord, may your whole Church
soon be gathered together
from the corners of the earth into your Kingdom
All Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus![vi]


May the Earth Continue to live
May the heavens above continue to live
May the rains continue to dampen the land
May the wet forests continue to grow
Then the flowers shall bloom
And we people shall live again

A Hawaiian prayer



We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land

Hymns by Normal Habel:



Prepare a pile of plastic rubbish at the door of the church that people must walk past as they get into Church

Children can prepare posters about what to do with rubbish.

by Rev Dr Rachel Mash, Southern Africa



[i] https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2018-01-22/richest-1-percent-bagged-82-percent-wealth-created-last-year / https://www.oxfam.org/en/5-shocking-facts-about-extreme-global-inequality-and-how-even-it

[ii] https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/all_publications/living_planet_report_2018/

[iii] Operation Noah Prayer

[iv] Season of Creation 4 Anglican Church of Southern Africa

[v] Community of Grandchamp, Areuse/NE (Switzerland); translated by Elizabeth Stace. Reproduced by ECEN for Creation Time 2006.

[vi] World Council of Churches, “The eucharistic liturgy of Lima”, https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/the-eucharistic-liturgy-of-lima

Last Sunday before Lent [by Rev Dave Bookless PhD]

Transfiguration Sunday

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Ex 34:29-35
Sir 27:4-7(5-8)
2nd Reading
2 Cor 3:12-4:2
1 Cor 15:54-58
Luke 9:28-43a
Luke 6:39-45
by Rev Dave Bookless PhD, Director of Theology, A Rocha International


Exodus 24:29-35:

Moses comes down from Mount Sinai, where he has spent 40 days in God’s presence, and his face is ‘radiant’ – shining with the reflected glory of having been in God’s presence. This was the second time Moses had been up Mount Sinai to receive the 10 commandments – earlier the people of Israel had become impatient with Moses’ absence and had created and worshipped the golden calf, leading to God’s devastating judgement. In these chapters of Exodus there is great emphasis on God’s glory, his ‘shekinah’, represented in the cloud that surrounds but also conceals his presence. Moses himself wears a veil, not – as we might guess – to shield people from God’s glory but rather (as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:13) because the glory was slowly fading away, like that of the Old Covenant in the light of the New Covenant found in Jesus. There are parallels here (also explored in our other passages) in how God’s glory is reflected in nature. Creation gives us veiled glimpses of the awesome power, beauty and purity of God. Like Moses’ face, it points beyond itself to the true glory in the face of God, a glory beyond our capacity to fully ‘see’ now.

Psalm 99:

This Psalm speaks of God’s unique power and majesty. He ‘reigns’, is ‘enthroned’, ‘great’, ‘exalted’, ‘awesome’, ‘holy’, ‘mighty’ (all in vs.1-4). Yet, God is not a distant cosmic deity we cannot relate to. He also ‘loves justice’ (v.4), speaks and answers when we cry out (vs.6-7), and is a forgiving God (v.8). So, how are we to respond – and how does creation react – to this God, who is both totally ‘other’ and also reaches out in compassion and mercy? Human nations ‘tremble’ and the earth itself ‘shakes’ (v.1). Our primary response is to worship – to ‘praise’ and ‘exalt’ God (vs.3,5,9) to obey his statutes and decrees (v.7), and to worship at His holy mountain. Today, we still need to respond in humility and worship to God’s holiness and majesty, revealed in creation’s awesome beauty, power and diversity, and also revealed in God’s acts in history, revealed in the Bible and in our experience today.

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2:

The Apostle Paul contrasts the passing glory of the Old Covenant, with its laws written on stone and ultimately leading to death, with the enduring glory of the New Covenant achieved through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and realised through the transforming freedom produced by the Holy Spirit. At first sight, this passage has little to say directly about creation care. However, this is an important reminder that our human efforts (works of the law) cannot save us, nor can they save the planet. We must resist narratives that it’s up to us on our own to prevent climate catastrophe … just as we must equally resist narratives that we should sit back and leave it all up to God. Rather we are to respond to God’s saving initiative in Christ, which gives us hope both for ourselves and creation. Our response is to care for creation, not primarily to save ourselves, future generations or biodiversity, nor to earn God’s favour, but out of freely-given worship. Climate action and creation care are our responses to God’s initiative and love for us and for all creation, and to God’s passion for justice.

Luke 9:28-36 (27-43a):

Jesus’ transfiguration is the classic mountain top experience, complete with the come down afterwards when his disciples fail to heal a possessed boy. There are lots of implicit links to other bible passages about God’s glory, including this week’s Exodus passage. These include the cloud from which God speaks (vs.34-35), the ‘shekinah’ of God’s glory seen on Mount Sinai, and also echoing God’s voice at Jesus’ baptism: ‘This is my Son’ (Luke 3:21-22). Luke’s baptism account describes it as ‘heaven opened’. Moses and Elijah appear alongside Jesus, representing the Law and the Prophets, and they point towards Jesus’ coming ‘departure’ and ‘fulfilment’ in Jerusalem. Obviously, the primary focus is on Jesus being revealed as God’s Son prior to his death, resurrection and glorification. Yet, there are important insights too about how God’s glory is revealed in, through and beyond material creation. As the sermon outline explains, transfiguration – when true spiritual reality is glimpsed through physical creation (in this case the face and body of Jesus) –


The poem ‘God’s Grandeur’, by the poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins begins with the lines:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

In these words, the poet captures a profound insight. Everything that God created ‘good’, and in fact the complete creation God which declared ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31), reflects in a special way something of God’s glory and grandeur. Many of us experience glimpses of this in the awesome beauty and mystery of God’s world. Our hearts are lifted and we can feel caught up into something so much bigger and majestic.

Stop and think. Have you ever …

  • been outside on a cloudless night looking at the vastness of the skies and the countless stars?
  • stood on the seashore, wondering at the dizzying power of the tides and waves?
  • looked at the patterns and colours within fallen leaves, and the tiny organisms that live on them?
  • stopped and wondered at birdsong, ants, bees, wildflowers, spiders’ webs, snowflakes etc?

All of these are potentially moments of ‘transfiguration’, when true reality in all its wondrous colour and depth is glimpsed within the material world.

The bible contains many examples of such moments where people or things are transfigured to reveal God’s glory. We can think of Moses and the burning bush, which was on fire without burning up, and from our Old Testament reading, Moses’ face shining with the glory of having spent time in God’s presence on Mount Sinai. Supremely, we this in the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain, when his true nature was revealed, when Moses and Elijah confirmed him as fulfilling the law and the prophets, when his face and clothing were transformed and shone brightly, and when God’s voice spoke from the cloud affirming Jesus as God’s son. This is the ultimate transfiguration – when the full glory of God is revealed in the face and even the clothing of a physical, flesh-and-blood human being.

Sometimes people speak of Jesus’ transfiguration as if it shows that true reality is spiritual rather than material, but that misses the point. This is not about heaven being more glorious than earth, or the spiritual being more ‘real’ than the physical. What we actually see here is the ultimate affirmation of the goodness of material creation. The physical body of Jesus is not simply a receptacle for the spiritual glory of God. It is actually fundamental to it. God’s full glory is revealed not in purely ‘spiritual’ experiences, but in the transformation – the transfiguration – of the material flesh and even clothing of Jesus.

The new creation, which the New Testament promises as our ultimate hope, is not a spiritual replacement for this physical world. The word ‘new’ when speaking of new creation and ‘new heavens and new earth’ is always kainos not neos in the Greek of the New Testament. Kainos speaks of renewal and transfiguration, not decay and replacement. The glimpse of transfiguration seen in Jesus on the mountain top points to the full transfiguration of his body in resurrection and ascension. It is a transfiguration where the physical and spiritual, the life of heaven and the life of earth, combine. New creation, of which Jesus’ risen body is the firstfruits, is when the separation that has existed between heaven and earth ever since sin entered the Garden of Eden will be overcome and the whole world will be charged, once again, with the grandeur of God. Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem ‘God’s Grandeur’ concludes with these lines:

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

If we are to tackle today’s climate and biodiversity crises, we need more than science, education and activism. We need a vision of how things should be, can be, and one day will be. Glimpses of transfiguration, in nature’s mystery and beauty, in human lives and, most fully, in the person and life of Jesus Christ point us to hope beyond tragedy, and give us the strength to continue striving for justice and for the restoration of God’s creation.


Transfiguration, by Malcolm Guite


For that one moment, ‘in and out of time’,
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
Nor can this blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.

by PhD Dave Bookless, A Rocha International, London

2nd Sunday before Lent [by Joel Kelling]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Gen 45:3-11, 15
1 Sam 26:2,7-23
2nd Reading
1 Cor 15:35-38,42-50
Luke 6:27-38
by Joel Kelling, Anglican Alliance’s facilitator for the Middle East


Genesis 45:3-11, 15

Somewhat reductive or simplistic issues of creation care are present in the Genesis reading, particularly seen in the beneficial impacts of Joseph’s careful planning and preparation for a time of drought (described earlier in the book). Joseph is able to state that he will provide for his family, despite there being five more years of famine to come. Whilst not stated explicitly here, or earlier in the text of Genesis, there is the implication of a time of rationing during the years of plenty, of careful stewarding of what is ‘enough’ to eat. Additionally, the preparations made, although not explicitly altruistic, allow for others from beyond Egypt’s borders to come and purchase grain. This serves to me as an example of something more than the prophetic comprehension of Joseph, or his fealty to God, but about our responsibility to how we consume, how we prepare and plan, as acts of faith.

Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40

Psalm 37 contrasts the fate of the ‘wicked’ who shall be cut off, and ‘fade like the grass’ with the meek, who ‘shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity’. This is symbolic imagery, and a type that whilst alluding to creation, implies that God will bestow good things on the righteous, rather than explicitly tying good stewardship of creation as an activity of the righteous.

Luke 6:27-38

“Love your enemies, do good to those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (v27)– challenging words for those of us who accept and trust climate science, and whose theology incorporates the importance of protecting and caring for God’s creation.

Love, mercy, and a lack of judgement (vv35-37) are similarly hard stances for us to adopt in the face of climate change denial or anthropocentrism. Jesus’ words from the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ are a great challenge to us – both in reflecting our need for grace and how we positively engage with those hostile to creation care.


Today’s lectionary readings seem to me to draw three things together across the texts – right and restored relationship with the land, right and restored relationship with our fellow humans, and a right and restored relationship with God.

From a creation care perspective, the readings make some obvious, if simplistic, statements about how we are to relate to the land, and the impacts that result.

However, the deeper and to my mind more interesting question for us as Christians who feel that a commitment to the care of God’s creation as a missiological necessity, is how do we reach out to, and relate with those who we vehemently disagree with?

Reading the texts together, I find myself drawn to the words from the Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s gospel – and love for enemies. Jesus is clear – ‘love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return…be merciful…do not judge…do not condemn…forgive…’

In Genesis we see the culmination of the reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers, those who had considered his murder and sold him into slavery. That their reconciliation comes through an act of desperation on the brothers’ part, in a time of famine, where their rejected, and often mocked dreamer of a brother has planned and prepared for crisis, is poignant if we consider it in light of the climate crisis. Joseph was persistent in sharing his dreams, to the chagrin of his brothers, but he is ultimately vindicated and proved correct in his interpretations.

We know of how climate scientists have been ignored by governments in the past, and in many places the present. We know that the hydrocarbon industry has done much to suppress, smear or repudiate the reality of environmental degradation and scale of human contribution to climate change. Climate activists have been murdered for speaking out with indigenous communities.  Out of all this, disinformation is shared and our friends and families are misled by false prophets into a state of denial at best and outright hostility at worst.

So how do we respond? How do we live out the call to love, be merciful and not judge or condemn? This is a great challenge and one I fail at all too frequently, and avoiding the arrogance of how I demonstrate my ‘rightness’ is not easily done. How do we balance the urgent need to address the climate crisis, but in such a way that doesn’t condemn or judge? How do we lovingly engage in these spaces, whether they be around the dinner table at home or the negotiating table at COP? No simple answers, but a loving approach that hopefully seeks to explain, patiently both a theology and the science of climate change is surely a better approach than merely telling people they are wrong and need to change?!

by Joel Kelling, Anglican Alliance

3rd Sunday before Lent [by Rev. Dennis Nthenge]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Jer 17:5-10
2nd Reading
1 Cor 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26
by Rev. Dennis Nthenge, Green Anglican Coordinator, Kenya, and All Saints Diocese Nairobi Youth Coordinator
OLD TESTAMENT: Jeremiah 17:5-10

Jeremiah God’s prophet was called an early age to be the voice of God. He was used to deliver some very heavy messages to the children of Israel. They made God very angry with their false worship and social injustice. Their sins were so grave that they even affected the non-human creation, rain halted in the land that saw strife extended to the plant and animal kingdom (Jeremiah 3:3). This particular text warns the Israelites of the impending outcome that awaits their behaviour. The warning is clear and precise that; those who ignore God and trust in themselves are likened to a useless stunted bush that tries to grow in barren ground however, those who trust in God are likened to a healthy green tree that flourishes in well-watered fertile soil.

Psalm 1

Psalms are songs of praise to God as our Creator, sustainer redeemer. Praise is recognising, appreciating and expressing God’s greatness. The author begins his psalm extoling the joys of obeying God and the rewards it comes with comparing their lives to those of the ungodly who only have judgment awaiting. In both their thought and their behaviour, the godly are different from others. They constantly rely upon the God consequently their lives are marked with freshness, strength and growth. Sinners seemingly have no stability in their lives. They have chosen the way that is worthless, and therefore their lives will bring disappointment and end in despair.

EPISTLE: 1. Corinthians 15:12-20

Christ’s return guarantees the resurrection of all believers. Resurrection implies renewal. The title of one of Dave Bookless’ book “God does not waste” brings meaning to this text. God’s strategy and action to redeem man did not involve replacing or throwing away but rather renewing that which was tainted and distorted by human sin. We’ve been called to look at the world through the eyes of Christ and exercise compassion to all of God’s creation (both human and non-human). As we wait upon our renewal let us help in renewing the earth. If God is a giver of second chance lets reconsider our consumerism nature and embrace the new culture of reduce, reuse and recycle, this way we shall give earth another chance of recovery and ultimately renew the health of man by creating a little heaven here on earth.

GOSPEL: Luke 6:17-26

The gospels bear witness that wherever Jesus went he did well. Word travelled far of His healing power and so crowds gathered just to touch him. Jesus capitalised on this moment to deliver one of his greatest sermons, entitled the Beatitudes. Beatitudes is from a Latin word meaning “blessing.” They describe what it means to be a Christ follower, give standards of conduct and just like our other texts they help contrast kingdom values with worldly values. We are called to value what God values and abhor what God abhors. John 14:23. In present day English, blessed is probably not as good a translation like “happy”. Are we happy with the state of the environment today, are we living in harmony with the rest of creation? What are we doing about it, any intention of doing good to the creation that God once considered good?



Our Psalm reading and the reading in Jeremiah have drawn for us a clear message that helps us distinguish a believer from a non-believer. Those who trust in God flourish like trees planted by the water. In times of trouble, they will have abundant strength, not only for their own needs but for others in need. St Francis says it best: “Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other”. It is interesting how both authors made use the analogy of the Tree and water to bring out the differences, however, it is not a surprise for God’s creation makes for the perfect commentary to God’s word.


Water to an African is sacred, not because of its scarcity in the continent but because it is believed to be the connection to life. There exist three models for the representation of water as found in African traditions: water as a source of life, as an instrument of purification and as a locus of regeneration. The Bantu people, to whom I belong, consider that the place of birth, of creation, is a great whirlpool of water, or a reed bed, which they situate in the Orient.  (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/45618)

Water is such a precious substance, whose scarcity is a true natural catastrophe. Farmers’ lives are literally at the mercy of rainfall: if it ceases, comes too late or falls too hard, it will destabilise their lives and eventually the economy of a people.

Nairobi River flows through a low-income settlement. Tatsiana Hendzel/Shutterstock (see link below)

This imagery of water would not be taken all so kindly by a citizen of Kenya living in Nairobi. A lot happens along the course of the Nairobi River as it makes its way from the north west to the south east of the city. It’s mainly used by residents of low-income settlements as a source of water for cleaning homes, bathing and for watering crops. But it’s also used to discard household and human waste as many homes don’t have toilets, and industrial waste is frequently dumped in the river. (https://theconversation.com/i-looked-at-how-polluted-nairobi-river-is-what-i-found-123533).

If Prophet Jeremiah lived in our times and resided near the Nairobi river, he would need to come up with a different analogy to help us understand the word of God for whatever is planted along such a polluted body water almost never survives and if it does no one would want to eat from its fruit due to the impurities that its roots would pull from the toxic stream.


What is God’s call for us as His children? We are called to renew our world. As we await the resurrection that will usher us into our new and glorious nature (Philippians 3:20-21) let us appreciate what Romans 8:19 also says: “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”. Jeremiah 17:5-10 and Psalm 1 clearly distinguishes us from the children of the world, now that we’ve been revealed arise and take action for God’s creation awaits you. The little issue that God enables you to notice please arise and solve it. If it is cleaning and greening the wetlands go for it for all animals that teem in the waters are depending on you.

Wetlands play a critical role in maintaining many natural cycles and supporting a wide range of biodiversity. They purify and replenish our water, and provide the fish and rice that feed billions. Your little efforts will translate to a great blessing for all of God’s creation. Let us also pray that God will also raise men and women who have a passion for stewarding this earth in the proper way.

by Rev. Dennis Nthenge, Kenya