The writer of Psalm 104 tells of the divine care in creation and then starts his hymn of praise with:

The glory of God – let it last forever!

Let God enjoy his creation!

Psalm 104:31 (The Message)

The psalmist would have shouted out this verse with enthusiasm and joy. But today we might question if the second line should not bear a question. The picture in the header is of the great Columbia Icefield on the Alberta side. The glacier is in retreat, and our view was shrouded by the smoke from wildfires in the next province, British Columbia. The probability of wildfires and the rate of glaciation retreat are both linked to the rise in global temperatures. The mechanistic link of that to our emissions of carbon dioxide is clear. Whether there is global warming is not a matter of religious faith, but of understanding the myriad of observations available to us.

 

Southampton region temperature changes 1850-2100

Southampton region annual temperature changes

The Intergovernmental Panel on  Climate Change has recently published a detailed report, SR15, into the world’s situation, forcibly stating that we should limit the rise in temperature since pre-Industrial age to 1.5 degrees C. CarbonBrief have mapped out the past and possible future changes across the world, illustrated for our own region. Really our headspace is now only 0.5 degrees.

What is a question of faith is what we do about it. As Katharine Hayhoe says, it is the poor that are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This challenges the demand on us to promote justice:

The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Psalm 33:5 (NIV)

The big step forward requires us to go beyond recognising the observation of global warming, to make changes in our lifestyle to reduce the suffering of the poor, or perhaps of anyone living on a coastal plain. The SR15 stresses that we need to effect change by 2030, only 12 years away. But also that it is feasible to turn a corner on global warming and then slowly reverse the changes already in play.

In a time and place when Jesus’ prayer of “Give us today our daily bread” was a heartfelt one, as it was not always going to come, he pointed us away from material priorities:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

Luke 12:22-23 (NIV)

We will show what is in our hearts by our priorities:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 12:34 (NIV)

But the responsibility does rest on our shoulders:

And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

Luke 12:55-56 (NIV)

We can take advice from many agencies such as Climate Stewards about how to consider our own lifestyles. It will be so much more in line with our calling if we can do it with love for creation and our fellow creations, so then we can truly affirm:

The glory of God – let it last forever!

Let God enjoy his creation!

Psalm 104:31 (The Message)