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Answering God – Day 40

Answering God – 40 Days with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Day 40 – Holy Saturday

A&Q sidewaysTo Read: 

We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will.
Show a loving consideration for all creatures, and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world.
Work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life.
Rejoice in the splendour of God’s continuing creation.
Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.
(Advices & Queries #42)


From the Scriptures:

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
    who announces salvation,
    who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’
(Isaiah 52v7)


To Reflect: 

9781781401675In the Church of England this Lent was supposed to be a Green Lent.  The culmination of years of behind the scenes work by Committees, and Task Groups, Fringe Meetings and Resolutions of General Synod, those of us looking to care more fully for the World around us thought we had finally cracked it.

We had waited patiently whilst the Church dealt with opening episcopal orders to women and men.  We had worked out that the Church was fed up with talking about Sex and Gender issues and might want to look at something else. We had done our groundwork in our parishes as church by church, cathedral by cathedral, diocese by diocese were named Eco Churches’. We were amazed that just 8 short weeks ago the whole of Synod set the target of 2030 as the year by which the whole church would be Carbon Neutral.  We even had, in Saying Yes to Life’, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘imprimatur’ proclaiming this Lent to be the greenest Lent ever.

Then the world becomes infected with a virus.

The Environment Working Group will continue its task but our energies have been forced by circumstance to be poured into different, some would say more vital areas.

When Covid-19 becomes a topic for the history books, and beloved if we continue to work with and for each other it will, people will ask how the virus spread so quickly and had such damaging effects.

We will reward some great acts of humanity and care (some found in this meditation).

We will be ashamed at our acts of greed and panic buying which left the most vulnerable and those who were fighting the disease with little or nothing.

Free_Trade_and_ProtectionWe will ponder how we trade with each other and, I hope, find a Third Way between a world sold to the generation of Corporate Wealth and the self-harm that is Protectionism.

We will have to choose to live life differently, because, regardless of our own desires, we will be living in a different world.

If we are wise, we will learn to put into deeds the words of today’s Advices and becoming people the passing of whose feet are welcomed by God’s good earth.

If this pandemic has taught, and continues to teach us, anything it is this.  The soil of this world, and the creatures that depend on it, do not rejoice at the passing of our feet.  And, instead of announcing Good News, we have by our desire for more and more of this world’s goods, become harbingers of death.  Change has been forced upon us and those of good heart will need to work hard to ensure that this will be change for the better.  Our human race cannot afford and will not survive another such pandemic.

5 marks of missionIn the Anglican Communion we try to live our life by the Five Marks of Mission.  The Fifth of which was the driving force behind our attempt at a Green Lent;

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation,
and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

In those words we find seed for a future life.  Care for the world, it’s teeming seas, its fruitful soil so that we may thrive will involve much more than just becoming Carbon Neutral, though that is a very good place to begin.

We have three tasks; Safeguard, Sustain, and Renew.

We were on the cusp of beginning to learn to Safeguard the integrity of creation before this pandemic spread.  In all of our plans for the future we would not go far wrong if we made those three words, Safeguard, Sustain, and Renew, the pillars that hold up a renewed world.

Then I hope we will finally learn the lesson of Chief Seattle’s iconic words;

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors;
we borrow it from our children.


To Pray: 

Creator, open our hearts
to peace and healing between all people.

Creator, open our hearts
to provide and protect for all children of the earth.

Creator, open our hearts
to respect for the earth, and all the gifts of the earth.

Creator, open our hearts
to end exclusion, Violence, and fear among all.

Thank you for the gifts of this day
and every day.

(Native American Chant)


To Do:  

1)  Read slowly the note from ‘Advices & Queries’ above again
2)  Safeguard, Sustain, Renew: In your plans to live life after Lent change one part of your life so that the earth will welcome the passing of your feet instead of saying ‘ouch’.



Quotes from ‘Advices & Queries’ are copyright © The Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain, 1995, 1997 and 2008

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Prayers from ‘Prayers for Hard Times’ are copyright  © Becca Anderson 2017

These Reflections, ‘Answering God’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2020 – and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged


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