Speaking to the soul

Inch Abbey – photograph by Ivan Baxter

The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Psalm 24:1 NLT

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist, has been amazingly effective in helping the world to wake up to the reality of our abuse of this planet. She said to a UN Climate Summit,” Sometimes we just simply have to find a way. The moment we decide to fulfil something, we can do anything. And I’m sure the moment we start behaving as if we were in an emergency, we can avoid climate and ecological catastrophe. Humans are very adaptable: we can still fix this. But the opportunity to do so will not last for long. We must start today. We have no more excuses.”

I think the psalmist would have shouted, “Hallelujah” to Greta’s words. His starting point was that the world is the Lord’s, and so we have the responsibility to care for the world that God has given us. We are answerable for this majestic planet and will have to give an account to God for the way in which we have looked after it.

The truth is that we have acted as if this were our world, and that we were not accountable to anyone else. We have let our selfish agenda rule – burning carbon fuels, poisoning our rivers, clearing our forests and doing whatever suited our insatiable materialistic appetite. I have no doubt that for much of the time our abuse of the planet was rooted in ignorance. We had no idea that our actions were having the disastrous effect that they were. But now we know and so we need to live in the light of that knowledge.

Greta is right. We have run out of excuses, and we must now commit ourselves to looking after this amazing world that God has given to us. Greta also said, “Many people say that Sweden is just a small country, and it doesn’t matter what we do, but I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.” You and I can make a difference, and I believe that God is calling us to do just that.


In what ways can you show your respect and care for God’s world today?


Lord God our Father we give you thanks for this amazing world. Help us to treasure it and to use its resources wisely. Amen.