Sikh, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu friends joined us for a special evening on the 1st Sunday in Lent. Beauty and Care of Creation is the theme of our Sunday evening Lent series and together we joined in a specially worded vespers and in friendly conversation as we explored together our faith perspectives on caring for our planet.
Rabbi Warren Elf (Judaism) referred us to the creation stories in Genesis. In chapter 1 the scripture says that humanity was to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth. “. However Genesis 2, humanity is made from the dust, with a responsibility to tend the earth.
Sukhbir Singh (Sikhism) told us that within his faith, we have a responsibility to care for creation and all that we have, beginning with ourselves and our family, and then the wider community. Nidhi Sinha (Hinduism) spoke about the five elements in the Hindu faith: air, water, fire, earth and ether and how these thread through the understanding of creation. She described Gandhi’s life of simplicity and how that gives a model to us for care for creation. Ahmed Ali (Islam), explained how care for creation is often tied into everyday practice, such as ablutions (ritual). Worshippers at Mosque see signs saying ‘Don’t Waste the Water’ a reminder to treat reverentially a precious and valuable resource.
In the discussion, we explored together the value of direct action, the role of the individual, and the role of women in decision making and leading the way. Sukhbir felt the role of mothers was important. Children learn most from their mothers through the nurturing process. Mtr Kate spoke of how mothers, through the act of childbirth are engaged physically with creation, in a way that sometimes inspires a concern for the planet which leads to lifestyle decisions that protect the planet, such as use of cloth nappies, breastfeeding etc.
As the discussion drew to a close, hope for the future, the importance of prayer, peace and respect for each other, and a greater gender balance in decision making were expressed. During the discussion it was thought that there had been little interfaith dialogue locally on Eco matters, and that this should be developed. All believed it was so encouraging and thought provoking, to hear and learn from other faith traditions and discovering so much common ground in our shared responsibility for our planet. We hoped we could explore ways of working together for the future.