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|Barbara Echlin has written the following. The quotes are from Bishop James Jones' book, except for the one on desecrating the earth which she got from the tape.|
Jesus and the EarthJames Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, gave an inspiring talk to Christian Ecology Link's conference in London on All Saints Day (1 Nov 2003). He explained how he first became interested in environmental matters when talking with teenagers in his Liverpool diocese in the millennium year. At first he saw that to interest young people in Christianity it would be necessary to include concern for the environment. Then he came to realise that caring about the earth is a 'theological, biblical and moral imperative.'
In his new book, 'Jesus and the Earth', Bishop James argues that Jesus is the saviour not only of humanity, but also the saviour of the planet and of the whole cosmos, which came into being through him and for him. In referring to Colossians, where Paul states that all things have come into being for Christ and through Christ, Bishop James declared that 'to desecrate the earth is not just a crime against the earth and future generations, which it is. To desecrate the earth is a blasphemy. It is to defile Christ's own gifts.'
'If, on the one hand, you believe that the earth is as expendable as a discarded paper cup which will be finally consumed in some cosmic combustion, then you will probably be inclined to milk the earth for all it is worth while there is time. If, in the other hand, you believe that the earth has a destiny in a renewed form and that the material has a place alongside the spiritual in God's eternal purposes, this will induce a more cautious attitude. Couple this with a realization that all things came into being through and for Christ, and your attitude to creation moves away from indulgence and exploitation to care and reverence.'
Jesus, whose coming and birth we celebrate in these coming weeks of Advent, described the earth as God's footstool (Mt. 5). Bishop James explained that this 'might suggest something demeaning, a picture of God Atlas-like with fist on forehead, knee bent and trampling earth beneath his foot. Nothing could be further from the truth. "Footstool" was the word used to describe the Ark of the Covenant. The footstool is God's touching place, where his presence is found. Herein lies the sacredness of the earth. The reason we respect and cherish the earth is precisely because it is God's footstool, his resting place.'
'Jesus and the Earth', James Jones (SPCK, 2003) is to be the Lent Study Book in 2004 in the Anglican church
Copyright © 2003-2007 Christian Ecology Link and B Echlin
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