Vicar's Column January 2020
St John the Baptist Parish Church
New year’s resolutions usually entail some change in lifestyle and a commitment to sticking to self-determined goals. They need to be realistic and achievable, lest we become oppressed by a sense of failure, but sometimes we need to set the bar a bit higher. If ever there was a time for new year’s resolutions it is now. There is one new year’s resolution that we need to be making individually, nationally and globally: to take our responsibility towards creation seriously by reducing our carbon footprint and amount of waste generated, plastic and otherwise. The days of fast fashion and single use plastics need to be consigned to history. Our “throw away” society has got out of control. At the start of December, our dishwasher packed up – bad timing. Anxious to have the thing fixed before relatives descend for Christmas, I phoned up a local repair service. To my mind, a 7 year old dishwasher should have life left in it (yes, it was a good brand). We were keen not to scrap it too lightly. However, I was informed that it would be more expensive to repair than to buy a new one and besides dishwashers are only made to last for 5 years. This was not the case in “the good old days” when things were made to last. The first dishwasher Mike brought to our household lasted 20 years. It is a scandal that household appliances are now constructed to have such a limited life, all to serve the god of consumerism. It is time we went back to manufacturing more durable goods for the sake of the planet.
So, there are times when our best eco-intentions are thwarted by the current status quo, and that is frustrating, but we must keep persisting where we can. This overarching new year’s resolution can only be realised through lots of bite-sized new year’s resolutions which relate to every sphere of our lives. It starts with our attitude towards creation: is it there to be used and abused by humans or a gift to be respected and cherished? This then needs to filter into our actions. The number of steps presented to us that we can be taking is ever increasing.
Consider our spending power, for instance, using a green energy supplier, making ethical investments, buying more locally sourced food, eating less meat, becoming wary of palm oil products and so on. It is also about not buying things that we do not need. For a book on this subject, I would recommend Eve Poole’s, Buying God, which sets out the theological premise behind all of this as well.
As we look to the new year, banning the party poppers because of the plastic waste, it is easy to feel flat and fearful about the future. The seasons of Christmas and Epiphanytide continue into the new year. They are seasons of hope; declaring in-breaking of God into our world, sharing in our sorrows, forgiving us our failures, lighting the path to life in all its fulness, and making Christ manifest to all peoples. The weight of responsibility to transform things for the better is ours. May we hold on the Christmas hope as we journey into the new year and pray for the willpower and resources to renew creation, in the strength of our Saviour.
Revd Dr Lisa Cornwell
Church Office (firstname.lastname@example.org )
- 01344 761521
Find St John the Baptist Parish Church
Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT
There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street.