This Sunday at the 10.00am service we will focus on the Story of Noah, a story I have been working on with the Young People in our Congregation. The story of Noah’s Ark has been a favourite children’s story for centuries, and our craft group have made some wonderful knitted figures to go into an Ark, to enable me to explore with the little children more of this story, and I want to thank them for all their hard work –they have done a beautiful job. Wray Grierson has also made a special stole for me to use that has the colours of the rainbow on it and so holding the promise of God before us throughout the stories. Also a friend of mine in Cambridge has composed some music to words of a lullaby which I hope to use at some stage when talking with the little children.

However, the story of Noah is not just an imaginative story for children, it carries some powerful messages for us as adults, for the wider society and global community. The early stories of Genesis lay upon the whole of humanity an awesome task. It’s the task of caring for the earth – of looking after the earth on behalf of God as God’s representatives. We sometimes use the old-fashioned word ‘Steward’ to describe this role and to speak of our stewardship, but a more current translation would be to say ‘caretaker’. As a global community how would you rate us as Caretakers of the earth?

In the context of God setting some clear boundaries about what Adam and Eve may do– they can eat the fruit of every tree except one – what do Adam and Eve do? They choose to take the very thing they are not permitted to take – even though they have everything else at their disposal. Isn’t that a pretty accurate image of human nature?

We want what we can’t have!

Some years ago I was speaking to a friend and farmer in lush East Gippsland, and he wanted to know what I thought about global warming – because fortunately he couldn’t see much evidence of it where he was. If I had the money I would have taken him on a flight to Tuvalu in the Pacific to see the impact of rising sea levels and how devastated that whole community is as a result. Show-not-Tell, means people come to
see for themselves rather than feel lectured.

I recently wrote a skit about two Tourists from Tuvalu visiting the Armenian Mountains in eastern Turkey and climbing Mt Ararat. It’s meant to be a fun skit where they are over awed by the high mountains and one of them wants to jump on them so hard that they push Tuvalu up on the other side of the world and save their islands.

The story of Noah is about God seeing the destructive nature of humanity and wanting to start all over again with a clean plate. It’s a story that challenges us to take seriously our responsibility for caring for the earth – both nationally and also personally. What can you do during ‘plastic-free July’ to minimise your use of plastics? Are there strategies that we can employ as a community that will help us fulfil our role as
caretakers of the earth?