Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jesus and climate change XI

Jesus’ death: Liberation
Jesus said he came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10.45). He wasn’t out to maximise his own benefit, but to do what was best for others, to serve. In the end, his service led to his execution on a Roman cross. He gave his life. Even as he was dying, his concern was for those who had been torturing him. He prayed: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing (Luke 23.34). Even in death, he was serving. Indeed, he calls his death a ransom, a price paid to free those held in slavery. We are enslaved by our guilt, by our habits of selfishness and thanklessness. If we will admit our slavery, Jesus sets us free. Not free to do whatever we feel like – that wouldn’t be freedom from selfishness but just more slavery. But Jesus’ death sets us free from guilt so that we too can become servants.

Jesus’ death opened the way to both a new relationship between creature and creator, and a new relationship between human creatures and the rest of creation. Because of Jesus, we are no longer enslaved to sin or trapped in sinful ways of living: we are free to live in loving obedience to God - including by being good stewards of the rest of creation. We can be free from the godless greed and selfishness that led to our present environmental mess, free to live in the manner originally intended by the creator - namely in joyful submission to him, in selfless love towards our fellow creatures and with great care for the rest of creation.
This post is substantially based on a similar post in my previous series: Would Jesus vote green? Emotional responses to ecological crises.
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; IX(b); X; XI; XII; XIII; XIV; XV.