From Nepal to Glasgow our faith calls us to care for creation
Published on 8 September 2021
Carol Finlay, a staff member of the Faith Impact Forum of the Church of Scotland and a member of the Glasgow Churches Together COP26 Group, reflects below on faith, climate, caring for creation and loving our neighbours.
Only a few weeks ago parts of Glasgow had a little taste of the effects of heavy rainfall and we all saw on the news the pictures of people being rescued from cars, and sandbags piled up in front of doors. There was no doubt that the rain which fell in these days was far more than perhaps was expected but many of the resulting problems were caused because of blocked drains!
Last week, continuous rainfall has fallen in the rural Terai area of Nepal and many people from over 200 households were affected, with 90 of those having to shelter in a school. Some roads were blocked, a bridge was damaged, phone connections were down and houses destroyed. This was the beginning of the monsoon season and a fearful time for many living in these flood-prone areas.
Two situations where people expect to be rained upon, one a bit of a surprise and one probably expected. Scotland is used to rain but not to floods, Nepal waits each year for the monsoon and welcomes it with dread.
Time to wake up
Of course, it is not just Nepal and Scotland that are affected by changing weather patterns due to climate change. The global partners of the Church of Scotland been sharing with us their story for many years, of unprecedented increase of floods, bush fires and droughts and erratic weather patterns that they are experiencing.
They share how life is becoming more and more difficult to manage. The more catastrophic of these we see on our news channels and often we are asked to support the relief efforts. But what of the longer term? It is time that the world wakes up to the responsibility we have to each other.
In Scotland we do not just need to unblock the drains, but we need to unblock ears, eyes and hearts to the global crisis we are in the midst of. We need action now if we are to ensure the same beautiful planet for our next generations to enjoy.
We need to listen to the voices calling from the Terai and from all around the world and we need to join with our voices too. We need to hold governments to account, that they would have issues of climate recognised and addressed, particularly seeking to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
We need to address our actions as individuals and in our churches too.
Pray for creation and for peace in the world
Our partners, the United Mission to Nepal are working with the people in the monsoon affected areas in Terai but not just to provide immediate relief but to help people to understand how climate change is changing weather patterns and to seek ways for the villagers to adapt to changing situations.
With the preparations for COP26 in Glasgow in full flow, I am sure the City of Glasgow Council has been doing more than clearing their drains. The eyes of the world will be on them this November.
As we step into September, we are now in the Season of Creation and churches use this opportunity to highlight our biblical mandate of care for creation.
The Church of Scotland weekly worship for 5 September was written by Rev Daniel Joachim from our partner church in Northern Mozambique. His words encourage us to work together. This is a good challenge for all as we engage with the COP26.
Daniel says: "How do we celebrate our trust in the Lord during Creation Time? Let us keep praying for the entirety of creation and for peace in the world.
"Let us increase our trust in the Lord and it will make us stable and strong (Psalm 125). Faith ought to compel us to discourage all types of division and discrimination, and demands a concrete and practical commitment for all believers (James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17)."