Over the last few months, many of us have had more time than usual to reflect on the world around us. And frankly, it’s alarming. Our planet continues to warm at an ever increasing pace. Global carbon emissions are still rising. People fleeing the effects of the climate emergency are in their millions, with numbers rising.
Yet, in the midst of despair, Christianity calls us to hope; calls us to hope in a brighter future where all that God has made can flourish, and calls us to be part of that future. The Bible calls that vision of justice and flourishing, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven,’ and claims the Kingdom of Heaven is already present among us. I am always delighted when I catch glimpses of the Kingdom.
A ‘glimpse of heaven’ which caught my attention this month is an inspiring project from Ireland. In 2015 Ireland set up its All Ireland Pollinator Plan, a nationwide plan to protect the pollinators that add an estimated 53 million euros each year to the Irish economy, and have huge environmental benefits by increasing biodiversity. Midleton, in County Cork, became one of Ireland’s first ‘pollinator towns,’ leaving its roadside verges uncut until September each year, except where they need to be cut for road safety reasons. This year, environmentalists counted 363 rare bee orchids in a short stretch of roadside. In the previous 227 years only 479 flowers had been recorded across the whole of Ireland, usually only singly or in very small groups. Someone from the project said, ‘those little seeds’ had been waiting for decades to ‘pop up and show us their beauty.’
Jesus spoke of the astonishing beauty of the plants that we so often fail to even notice, beauty he said that was greater than the greatest finery of the greatest of Israel’s kings, King Solomon. I am certain that our lives are enriched as we learn to appreciate anew the wonderful beauty God surrounds us with. In the Hope Valley, we too have the opportunity to create our own tiny ‘glimpses of heaven’. We can encourage our local councils to leave our roadside verges uncut, as some verges around Hathersage already are, so that we can both enjoy the beauty of wild flowers and support the pollinators that contribute so much to our food supply.
Yours in Christ,
firstname.lastname@example.org 01433 621918