Bishop's Comment: The earth is the Lord’s

1st September 2020

David Attenborough’s Bank Holiday Planet Earth TV film with new music by Hans Zimmer performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and rapper pianist Dave certainly raised my spirits during this long pandemic and as promised brought a message of hope for the future.

This season of Harvest, now widened in the Church calendar to Creation, gives humans an opportunity to appreciate all that we have been given in the natural world, the intricate Home we share, and time for a reappraisal of our daunting responsibilities as stewards.

Church of England Birmingham Environment policy is being rolled out for parishes, schools and other places of activity over the next few years with a focus on net zero carbon.

Parliament will see the progress of the Environment Bill this session with its priorities on air quality, waste and resource efficiency, water and nature. Lords Spiritual and others will need to ensure that government commitments are clear, timely and legally binding.

For the immediate activists there continue to be rallies and prayer vigils including ‘Christian Climate Action’ (the Christians of Extinction Rebellion).

Christians who have already absorbed the science and arguments about humanity’s fatal resource destructiveness, maybe from Naomi Klein, but need another shove, might turn to David Rhodes‘ ‘Climate Crisis’ (pub Kevin Mayhew 2020) emphasising the inspiring, disturbing, radical Jesus.

Humanity’s global interdependence has been re-emphasised by the pandemic. As we change and remake church and society in England it must be in appreciation of and in participation with our worse-off, world-wide neighbours.

‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein’ (Psalm 24:1) Meanwhile I pray that you and I will be joyful stewards of the gifts we have, starting say with the clean water flowing from our taps and the light and heat available at the flick of a switch.

‘This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it’ (Psalm 118:24)


Rt Revd David Urquhart
Bishop of Birmingham