A New Heaven and a New Earth

There’s obviously a nervousness in the air concerning the development, progress or regress of the CVP. However, the children are back at School and huge amounts of energy and thought have been given by all the staff and yourselves, not only concerning safety but also to keep awareness as well as hope alive and thriving. Thank you for your cooperation for this.

Monday was All Saints Day. You have a chance this week to think of some person (or more than one!) you know and admire who may be around at present or may be from history who has been inspiring to you through sacrificial loving and caring, endeavour on behalf of others – at great cost to themselves, maybe even with their lives, but not necessarily so.

For me, the continuing inspiration of St Francis of Assisi concerns his deep love and care for the ordinary life of the natural world around him, which revealed to him the Vision and Love of God in each moment. Perhaps, for some of you, the use of the word ‘God’ leaves you puzzled. Well, if so, bring into your imagination someone who has inspired you by his or her life, love and work.

One of the reading from the New Testament for All Saints-tide is from the Book of Revelation. The reading begins with these powerful and beautiful words: “And I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth…” Given COP26, these words are even more powerful, at least for me. Will the meeting of global leaders match their inspiration and hope of these words? There are pessimistic and hopeful voices around, as I’m sure you’ve heard.


Practical suggestions

I have some practical suggestions for you, because I can’t just leave it to political leaders or the scientists to make decisions about our beloved planet. I need to do something NOW myself. I’d be grateful to know your responses to these:

  1. House insulation and heating. Now this is a difficult issue, but essential. Maybe a review of how I insulate my home and what energy I use might be revealing. It’s not always popular to suggest lowering the heating levels, but is the thermostat in my house set higher than it need be?
  2. Be careful what I buy. Where was it made and what were the environmental costs that went into its production and selling?
  3. Oh! This produces interesting reactions. Some thoughts: I’m trying to drive only as fast as I NEED to. Do I NEED to go faster than 60 MPH on a dual-carriageway or motorway? Reducing my speed from 70 to 60mph reduces my fuel consumption 10%. I’m trying to be careful about the accelerator pedal. Do I need to drive as much as you do? And flying? Currently, flying produces huge amounts of canon emissions. Is it necessary for me to fly?
  4. Wasting food. The amount of food waste in this country is nothing short of shocking. And a very thorny subject is Red Meat. We’re trying a considerable reduction in Red Meat eating, learning that that will definitely help, while making sure that, when I do buy red meat, it’s locally and carefully sourced.

Now, it maybe that you have counter arguments to make about these suggestions. If you do, that’s important – I’m trying to suggest that our personal awareness and decisions are vitally important, whether or not COP26 is a success or not.

‘And I saw a new Heaven and a New Earth’. (Revelation 21)

With hope, urgency and prayer,

Bishop Martin
School Chaplain
Exeter Cathedral School

3 November 2021
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