It is time the gospel is viewed not only for the redemption of individuals, but also for the total restoration of communities
Dear Ministers of God, Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is delightful to hear Christian leaders commenting on issues of national interest on behalf of the entire Christian body. However, it is sad that a country with a 70 per cent Christian population, who believes in God as the Creator and Owner of the earth; known through His creation; should be confronted with such enormous environmental degradation and undignified living conditions
The root of environmental ethics
Dear Ministers, the Bible speaks authoritatively about how God wants us to maintain the earth He called “good”. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible teaches that humanity, created in the image of God is given “dominion” or responsibility as custodian or steward over everything created. Further in Genesis 2:15, the earth was entrusted to man “To till and to keep it”. ‘Till’ in its original Hebrew is ‘abad’ meaning to ‘work’ or cultivate’ and ‘to keep’ is ‘samar’ meaning to ‘preserve’ or ‘maintain’. This implies that the earth is given to humanity to cultivate for survival and also to be preserved or maintained for posterity. Yet, we have disregarded our role as managers. Littering, indiscriminate rubbish disposal, reckless open urination and defecation, illegal and surface mining among others, have been left unchecked for years. This is worrying. Many church goers today would tell you that they have never heard any sermon related to the environment. To some Christians, issues on the environment are not scriptural. What then are the churches telling people concerning the God-ordained relationship expected to exist between man and his environment?
According to Psalm 24:1 ‘the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’. Deuteronomy 11: 11-12, indicates that the land drinks rain from heaven “and the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” Hosea 4:3 says that because of the action of man, no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land, ‘the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying’. Deuteronomy 23:13-14 speaks on open defecation. Matt 22: 34-39 also provide us with ethical motivation to care for the things God loves and be committed to the same purpose as he is. James 4:17 says, ‘Remember it is sin to know what to do and then not do it’. Environmental ethics are, therefore, scriptural. The awareness has to start from the pulpit.
Influence of the church
The church has always wielded so much influence in society. Men/Women of God carry so much power that directions from the pulpit are received without question. This makes the pulpit a powerful platform not only for spiritual transformation but also for reaching the heart and conscience of people in an effort to change behaviour and habits, re-mould character and attitudes; to make people responsible Christians and citizens who are accountable to God for all their dealings on the earth. To teach that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are to honour God with our body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); teaches that the Almighty God is the Owner of the earth, who dislikes indecency because it will cause him to turn his back against his people (Deuteronomy 23:14).
The recent media campaign on ‘galamsey’ has awakened the interest of some church leaders to call on their members to join the campaign. The Christian community could also be challenged to start a campaign for the restoration of the earth to express the Christ nature in us. As the poet Maya Angelou once wrote, “being a Christian is a vocation that gradually leads to Christlikeness; a calling to certain practices, discipline and habits in the sense that our calling creates a connection between our theology and lifestyle; between what we believe and the way we behave.”
The Christian Council and the Catholic Bishops Conference have called on the President to roll out a programme to facilitate attitudinal change. However, considering the number of people who flock the churches daily, a campaign for the transformation of the environment can effectively start from the pulpit with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Christian community in partnership with other agencies should be challenged to lead a massive campaign, dubbed ‘Di Asase So Ha ni fa ma Kristo” or ‘Keep the earth clean for Christ’. This will be a great step by the custodians of the earth to begin the redemption process.
It is time the gospel is viewed not only for the redemption of individuals, but also for the total restoration of communities for all things to be called “good.”
The Writer is Rev. Elizabeth Korasare
Cell: 233 242801535
Email: [email protected]