Over 60 years ago, the late Bishop John Robinson published a book, “The New Reformation”, in which he accurately foresaw how the church of his day was facing a crisis as it appeared increasingly irrelevant to the world. How much more so in our own times… I was recently reminded of a quotation from the book; “The house of God is not the Church but the world. The Church is the servant. and the first characteristic of a servant is that he lives in someone else’s house, not his own.”
John Robinson died long before our current awareness of climate change and the threat that it poses to the planet. But, as this coming Saturday, 22nd, marks International Earth Day, it is worth pondering on the full implication of his words. We often talk about a church building as “the house of God” and I appreciate the importance of a place made holy by prayer and worship. But the real house of God is the world we encounter when we step outside of the church door and that is what Christians, indeed all people, are called to serve. That world, that house where God dwells is also the home of the natural world; all living creatures. John’s words are a reminder that caring for God’s house means we must care for our planet and its many environments.