St Peter & St Paul's Newsletter - July and August 2023

Letter from Revd Helen Burnett.

This question could be the premise of almost any sermon or theological discussion, but reading a recent article (see below) the question assumed a sudden more urgent meaning as I was provoked into thinking about the nation states whose ‘kingdoms’ will soon disappear beneath the waves as climate breakdown advances, they become one of the real and present day casualties of a global fossil fuelled economy:

A century from now – if not sooner – entire states could become uninhabitable, raising doubts about what will happen to their citizens, governments, and resources.

Small island nations would rather fight than flee, but rising sea levels have prompted apocalyptic legal discussions about whether a state is still a state if its land disappears below the waves.

Full article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/27/we-could-lose- our-status-as-a-state-what-happens-to-a-people-when-their-land- disappears

The Hebrew Bible is the story of a people searching for the promised land and the gospels are full of references to ‘the kingdom of God’.

In the pattern of several contemporary writers and theologians I warm to the removal of the ‘g’ and the use of ‘Kin-dom’ which invites a broader more generous image of togetherness than ‘kingdom’ with its hierarchical and patriarchal associations.

As some of us take off on summer breaks to explore new places and rest awhile, let us take some time to remember our duty to our kin and allow our sense of our interconnectedness, our place in a Kin-dom, to inform our decisions about travel and purchases.

When Jesus says ‘we are one body’ a phrase repeated every time we exchange the peace in church, we are proclaiming ourselves as global citizens and as such we are called to honour God’s glorious creation and treasure it for future generations.

Once we see the ‘Kingdom of God’ as the place where heaven touches earth then it is about so much more than the paradise holiday island which, as the article explains, should explanation be needed, will soon be beneath the waves.

The Kin-dom of God where heaven touches earth is when all species and nations can flourish without the subjugation of some for the luxuries of others.

It is a promised land where there is a true sense of the value of all species and where there is full recognition of the place each member plays in protecting the other.

If you have the joy of a holiday this summer, I hope that you can honour the world around you and make your choices of where and when to go in ways that reflect the Kin-dom of God.

I hope you return refreshed by new places and experiences; if instead you remain local I hope that you can value the small things and the time away from your normal routines.