On 22 March 2021 Common Grace called together our community in an act of lament and hope on Earth Overshoot Day, to join together with Christians from across these lands now called Australia to pray for Creation and Climate Justice.
Earth Overshoot Day is the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year. Australia’s Overshoot Day in 2021 was March 22nd, the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like Australia's population does. If everyone lived like Australia we would need 4.5 planets.
Australia consumes beyond the capacity of the Earth, our home, to sustain us. We lament the past injustices that led to this including where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have not been listened to, we cry out against the current patterns that perpetuate this consumption and we pray that change is possible.
We gathered together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders and other Christians of diverse ages, cultures, and backgrounds to pray - to ask God to guide us with wisdom, give us courage to act and help us follow Jesus’ call to love all our neighbours.
What Can We Do, presentation by Dr Byron Smith
Were You There, song written for Earth Overshoot Prayer Vigil by Luke Vassella
Luke on writing 'Were You There': “When the folks at Common Grace asked if I’d like to sing a song for their online prayer vigil for Earth Overshoot Day I was eager. The 22nd March date alarmed me though. Are we really living that far beyond our means? Have we exceeded the limits of a sustainable society that far? I remember hearing Sunday school teacher Bill Mckibbon talking about the dialogue at the end of the book of Job, where the Lord speaks out of a storm. A cranky God reminding Job and the rest of us of our place in the grand vision of creation. I used this perspective as I wrote the song.
During the COVID-19 lock-downs which caused enormous disruption for many, our church fellowship migrated outside under the trees, avoiding the social distance limitations of being inside. We’ve stayed outside ever since and really enjoy being surrounded by lush green trees. I wanted to share that atmosphere in the video, but just before recording, a mini tornado or ‘microburst’ tore through the hinterland and made a mess of things. It also made a mess of the gorgeous north coast vibe I was keen to show off. And from then on it kept raining. So in the end the song video was recorded inside. The plan disrupted, it required recalibration, re-evaluation and reimagining.
For me the experience exemplified the whole point of earth overshoot day. Like it or not, we are being interrupted, our world is being transformed and through it all God is speaking.
Lord give us good ears to hear, good eyes to see, and the good sense to know who we are and what we are to do in these days.”