Here and now: David Turner
David Turner on the return of nature
Step outside into the world. Close your eyes and reflect on what you hear. Would you usually be hearing traffic, people on phones, the buzzing of electricity lines? And instead, can you now hear birdsong, the wind, the rustling of animals? Now focus on what you can smell. Is it grass, flowers and wildlife? How different is this to the usual smell of pollution, waste products and tarmac? Are you stood on grass or pavement? Now open your eyes, look out on this world and ask yourself if the urbanised, industrialised world is really what God planned. Is it what we want? Is this the future we want to strive towards? And how has the lockdown impacted the environment?
Modernisation and urbanisation are not the same. Why can’t modernisation incorporate a greener future? And as Christians, how can we help make this? Genesis says: ‘Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it.’ We are to be God’s stewards to protect this world. Somewhere we have lost sight of this, but picture what life would be now if we hadn’t.
Genesis states that God separated the heavens and earth. But what if he didn’t fully separate them? In the garden of Eden, there are trees full of fruit, animals roaming, enough for it to be fully self-sustaining. Surely the garden was a place of heavenly qualities – plenty for all, peace, the closeness of God. Isn’t the mission of the Church to come closer to God, to achieve peace and plenty, to make heaven on earth and to return the whole world to the garden of Eden? Now, that’s a big ask, and unlikely to be achieved in our lifetime, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a start for future generations to continue the work. Even now, during this lockdown, we are seeing nature taking back the land. Villages in Wales are being taken over by sheep. Deer roam free on high streets. There was a recent news story about elephants in southwestern China being found passed out, drunk from the crop of a vineyard they stumbled upon…
David Turner is youth representative for the United Reformed Church National Synod of Wales
This is an extract from an article that was published in the June 2020 edition of Reform