FaithInvest CEO Martin Palmer has been asked to provide BBC Radio Four's Prayer for the Day during the UN climate conference, COP26.
The two-minute prayer and reflection is broadcast each weekday morning at 5.43am, and the BBC wanted prayers from six different faiths that reflected their relationship with the natural world. The prayers will be broadcast during the second half of the COP, beginning on Saturday November 6.
The schedule for the prayers is:
Saturday 6 – Christianty
Monday 8 – Buddhism
Tuesday 9 – Judaism
Wednesday 10 – Sikhism
Thursday 11 – Islam
Friday 12 – Daoism
You can listen to the prayers via programme's website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qmpj/episodes/player . They will remain available for 30 days.
Christianity – Blessing not stewards
by Martin Palmer
Many people seem to believe that the best way to describe our relationship with Nature is to say we are stewards and it is often said that is what Christianity teaches. However in the Orthodox Churches, we are not described as stewards with the implication that we are managers of Nature.
Instead we are described as having a God-given role to help the rest of Nature offer up thanks and to be simply yet gloriously the channel for God’s blessing on the whole of Creation. Instead of managers, we are called to be a blessing!
This is why the Orthodox Churches were the first Christian tradition to realise the scale of the threat we posed to Nature – and ourselves – and in 1989 created the first ever Day of the Protection of the Environment on September 1st. Now around the world Orthodox Christians focus their action, thoughts and prayers around being a blessing to the rest of Nature in parishes, schools and places of pilgrimage.
To honour this, a prayer has been created drawing upon the words of the great Russian writer Fyodor Mikhail Dostoevsky:
May we discover how to love all God’s creation, the whole of it – every grain of sand.
Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light! Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If we love everything, we will perceive the divine mystery in all things. And once we have perceived it, we will begin to comprehend it, more and more every day.
And we will come at last to love the whole world with an abiding universal love. Love every living thing as God does and therefore do not trouble them, torture or deprive them of their joy, so we do not go against God’s intent.