Start with your own friends and family and make sure that we continue to have these conversations. It's a long term conversation. It's not just one time. Keep having the conversations.
The following is an edited excerpt from a recorded conversation between Common Grace CEO Brooke Prentis and Christian ecological ethicist Dr Byron Smith, facilitated by Common Grace’s Creative and Communications Director, Brigitta Ryan. It is titled 2020, the Year of Disruption: COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and the Climate Crisis. Listen to the full conversation here
BROOKE PRENTIS:I think so often Christians can get very comfortable. And I don't think that's what Jesus calls us to. Christians and non-Christians rely on the government to do the job — I think some people confuse that with doing the work of breaking injustice. Those of us living injustice see the power playing out. We know, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the power is actually with the people. And that's what I hope Christians actually see.
And I’ll add it's not power as we're seeing it played out by world leaders. It's actually power that means “the love for all peoples, the care for creation and the sense of community.”
DR BYRON SMITH: [Because of COVID-19] we've all been thinking in recent months about contagion and the context within which a virus can spread from one person to another. But we need to think of ourselves as contagious. You know, in the sense of ideas and stories. And so think: who am I letting infect me, who am I listening to, what stories am I soaking myself in? Is it the stories that I get told by the rich and powerful through their channels in the media? Through the politicians? Through the dominant stories that have shaped our culture over the last few generations? Or are we exposing ourselves first and foremost to the good news of Jesus Christ? Recorded in scriptures and lived out in faith communities?
So think about who is contaminating us, as it were. Try to reduce our exposure to the dominant stories, reduce our exposure to advertising where corporations are telling us that life consists in the abundance of possessions in direct contradiction of what our Lord Jesus tells us. And increase our exposure to life-giving stories.
But then also think of ourselves as also potentially contagious to others. People are more persuadable than we think.
Take time this week to read through Matthew 5:13-16 and reflect on Brooke and Byron’s challenge to consider how our attitudes and actions reflect the good news of Jesus at work in His world.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
We are called to be at work with God in His world, speaking and acting as ‘salt and light’ to those around us. Consider how your attitudes and actions are a result of where your attention is focused. What channels and stories are you exposed to? How do we increase our exposure to life-giving stories so that Christ may be more fully revealed in our lives?
Pray that we would be ‘contagious’ in living out Christ’s love for His world. That we would be faithful to being who God has called us to be, where we are, as we live in communities facing ecological emergency and the global COVID-19 crisis. Pray that we would be bold in speaking out in truth, seeking to be the ‘salt of the earth and light of the world’ as we stand alongside our neighbours and call for Creation and climate justice.
Take Action This Thursday
This Thursday, we are joining together with Christians from across these lands now called Australia to pray for creation and climate justice with an online prayer vigil hosted by Common Grace.
Date and Time: Thursday 24 September 7pm – 8:30pm AEST
Where: Online via Zoom
This is not a Facebook Live event.
You must register to attend this event and a link to the event will be emailed to you on the day.