The word is very big and around
And in it many things are found
e.g. a Bee

Not the most theological of poems I grant you, and not the greatest in length, or subject matter, nor is it most well constructed, yet it is one that has stuck with me ever since I first saw it. This simple poem by Adrian Plass, from his book Silences and Nonsenses: Collected Poetry Doggeral and Whimsy, simply won’t exit my head and I woke up this morning with it occupying space normally reserved for the complex task of deciding which cereal to have!

However, this poem does speak to me in one very specific way that I want to share with you this morning. Although short in size these simple words remind me of the amazing variety we find in the world, all manner of fauna and flora. The world is, when we take time to look at it properly, awash with amazing colours and sounds and a huge variety of the kaleidoscope of God’s creation. And what a privilege it is to be part of this.

Psalm 95:3-5 - "For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land."

Psalm 104:24-25 - "How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number – living things both large and small."

Yet, also when we look around we see that so much of this colour palette is being washed out grey, sounds and being silenced and the variety of God’s creation is being diminished day by day. So many bird, animal and plant species have been lost already, and the loss just continues… all because we as humans just keep on consuming instead of repairing, keep on buying instead of appreciating what we have. Habitats are destroyed for cattle farming, palm oil plantations, tree logging, new houses on prime habitat that are home to very specific species. And the hard truth is once they are gone, they are gone. Piece by piece God’s amazing creation is being dismantled, undone…

So my question is this, asked of myself as well as anyone else, ‘how should we respond to this?” As Christians, as God’s people, it is in our DNA to care for this world. Genesis 2:15 tells us this then it says ‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ Do we do things that contribute to the slow loss of this amazing world? Do we drive to often instead of walking, cycling or using public transport? Do we eat seasonably or do we expect summer fruit all year round so it needs to be transported thousands of miles by air, road and sea? Do we want cheap milk? Do we want cheap bread? Do we want foods that are cheap because they contain palm oil? Do we remove hedgerows because fences are in fashion or are easier to maintain? Or do, should we, take a deeper interest in the world around us as ask ‘How can I care for this place Lord?’

This is not a moan to make you feel down, but rather a plea… I don’t want to see a poem that says

The world is very big and round
Yet in it no beauty can be found
Colour gone, sound all killed
But that’s OK....
My home is full, my belly filled

God is calling his people to protect what has been made for us, loaned to us, He is expecting us to take care of it… can we?