CARING FOR GOD’S CREATION

What we have done so far – by Jan Down

Over the past decade or more, St Margaret’s has done so much to care for God’s creation, and I think it is worth celebrating.

Here is a list of some of the things St Margaret’s has done and is doing:

  • a professional energy audit conducted
  • water tanks installed
  •  solar panels installed

SOLAR PANELS AT ST.MARGARET’S

  • recycled toilet paper
  • using china crockery, not disposable
  • turning off hot water urns until needed
  • signs to remind hall renters to switch off lights
  • composting garden waste
  • food scraps from events taken home for chooks
  • sorting of waste to be recycled
  • planted a creeper to cool a wall so as to use less energy
  • Season of Creation worship services
  • held film nights
  • children’s educational activities at Celebrate Mooroolbark
  • signed petitions, written letters
  • signed Lausanne Call to Action – a commitment as a congregation to act in caring for creation
  • toilet cisterns recently renewed to more efficient models; likewise all the taps throughout the property. This was made possible through a Community Water Savings Grant from Yarra Valley Water of $4691.78.
  • individual action at home
  • sale of hand-made re-usable cloth shopping bags
  • AND...

 One more thing:

In giving to Rubaga Youth Development Association RYDA), Christmas Bowl, TEAR and other overseas aid organisations which include education in their programs, we have also been taking significant action on climate change, because educating girls is one of the top 10 technical solutions to climate change.

RYDA girls outside St. Margaret's Hall, Uganda, on the day of its official opening. 

This is because women with more years of education have fewer and healthier children.

According to one study, if all nations achieved 100% enrolment of girls in primary and secondary school, by 2050 there would be 843 million fewer people worldwide than if current enrolment levels continued.*

So we’ve been doing something without even knowing it!

It is interesting how often care for people in need and care for God’s creation go hand in hand.

God’s Creation – by Joyce Dodge

Early in the morning we can hear the dawn chorus of birds.    We can marvel at the seeds springing to life from the ground.  We can enjoy the beautiful flowers and fragrances of Spring’s burst of life around us.  What delight we can have in God’s wonderful Creation in our small patches of the earth’s surface.

What a mighty Creator God we have!  How intricate are the working of our human bodies!  How splendidly distinctive are the appearances and habits of the multitudes of people, creatures and plants of all shapes and sizes who share the earth with us.

Yet the God of Creation has entrusted us to care for the earth. Jesus has reminded us to share what we have and to be considerate of our neighbours.

How can we be so disrespectful of God’s Creation to allow ice caps to melt, forests to burn and people to die from polluted water and air.  Yet by misusing the resources that God has entrusted to us we have done much to spoil God’s Creation.

Over the years various phrases have been used to help us focus on ways we can change our behaviour.

Live simply so that others may simply live.    Walk lightly on the earth.  Reduce your footprint.

We read in Genesis that God looked at what he had done and it was good.  The psalmist says in Psalm 148 ‘Let all things praise the Name of the Lord, because they were created at His command’.  In Psalm 24 we read ,’ The earth and everything on it belong to the Lord. The world and its people belong to Him’.

Remember when Paul was in Athens and he saw the altar ‘To the Unknown God’.  He said ‘You worship this God, but you don’t really know Him. So I want to tell you about Him. This God made the world and everything in it.  He is Lord of heaven and earth…He gives life, breath and everything else to all people… God has done all this, so that we will look for Him and reach out and find Him.  He isn’t far from any of us, and he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are’  ( Acts 17)

This is our God. He has empowered us to be who we are. Let us be humble enough to learn from Him and from other people. Let us take note of what our Aboriginal friends say, ‘ Listen to the earth. Learn from us about better ways to care for the earth and not exploit it”

As several people have pointed out our governments have responded to the COVID19 crisis with prompt action to keep us safe.  How good it would be to respond with the same urgency to God’s call to be good stewards of His Creation.

CARING FOR GOD’S CREATURES. – by Marj Hookey

God said we should care for the earth and all its creatures, but how can you and I possibly be part of this? If I suggested to you that you should help look after platypus because they are one of the really special animals on earth, and if we don’t look after them they will  soon join the list of extinct creatures in the world, I wouldn’t blame you for saying “well I wouldn’t know what to do” or “I am too old to do anything about it’ .

But you and I and everyone else here on Zoom today can make a very great difference to the lives of not only platypus, but many other creatures as well.

Have a look at these three pictures and you may well say what on earth has a rubber band, a hair tie and a jar of vegemite got to do with saving animals?

Have you ever seen a rubber band or a hair tie on the footpath when you are down the street, perhaps outside the post office?  I have, and if it is at all possible, I stop to pick them up and this is why -   The very next heavy shower of rain will wash them into the gutter and from there they will go into the storm water drain. In no time the drain will take them to the Brushy Creek which will then end up in the Yarra River which is great platypus habitat. Then along comes a platypus feeding, and these things seem like worms, so they swallow them or get them caught in their feet or round their necks. But what about the Vegemite jar?  Have a look at that yellow plastic ring which is part of the packaging, they get into the rubbish too, and animals get caught in them – those rings are round numerous containers large and small. We can all help by always cutting through those rings to break the circle so nothing can get caught in them.

Have a look at the worm the platypus is eating - it could easily be mistaken for a hair tie, a rubber band or a plastic ring.

I love balloons, a big bunch of bright coloured balloons is a great delight to me.

We put them up for the fete and immediately the place seems bright and festive – but there is now a big BUT with balloons – they are wonderful but only INDOORS.

Have a look at what happens when creatures find balloons outside.

BIRD INTERESTED IN BALOON

BIRD CAUGHT BY BALOON

     

They are naturally curious – look at these birds they have found balloons floating on the water or lying on the ground. They  pick them up,  think they are food and either swallow them or take them home to feed their young. We have a program at Zoos Victoria and the message is “When balloons fly, seabirds die” and it’s not only seabirds but corellas and even cows.

And look at the latest problem with birds becoming tangled in discarded face masks.

BIRD CAUGHT BY FACE MASK

By all means enjoy balloons on special occasions but remember never let them go when you are outside to fly up into the wind and then out of sight, where a bird or animal may find them and they can travel many, many kilometres.

INSTEAD USE  BUBBLES for outside celebrations - help everyone to do this by telling  these stories. That is something we can all do!

And there is just one more message for today. Many of you enjoy birds and have really come to love that magpie family who are waiting for you in the morning with a delightful warbling song.

Look at this group singing their hearts out high up on a TV aerial.

Did you know that the best way to help birds live long and happy lives is NOT  to feed them but always provide a bowl of fresh water for them to drink, especially in summer. But you might say “I only feed my Maggies a few scraps or some bread or some mince.” Could I ask you to do one thing ?–  never feed any birds or animals  bread - It is really bad for them – but I can understand if you have been feeding the same Magpies for years, they are your pets, and you won’t want to stop feeding them now. Let me tell you about mincemeat.  It has no vitamins or minerals suitable for birds. But there is an option that experts have agreed on –

try feeding tinned cat or dog food instead, because they are complete diets with all the vitamins and minerals necessary.

Try not to do it every day though – we don’t want the birds dependent on us  -  although I suspect many magpies have a circuit  of several houses they  regularly visit !   To encourage nectar and seed eating birds into our gardens, plant shrubs and trees that birds like to feed on, grevillias, banksias and hakeas are all wonderful for attracting birds

So indeed, there are many easy ways we can all both live with and care for God’s creatures that so brighten our lives, amuse and amaze us. Yes, even fill us with wonder and awe.