A sermon given during the 10:30am Choral Eucharist, by The Rt Rev’d Chris Mcleod, on the 11th of September 2022.

Creation, Climate and Lambeth

Text: Jeremiah 4: 22; 25 -26

22 “For my people are foolish;
    they do not know me;
they are stupid children;
    they have no understanding.
They are skilled in doing evil
    but do not know how to do good.”

I looked, and there was no one at all,
    and all the birds of the air had fled.
26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert,
    and all its cities were laid in ruins
    before the Lord, before his fierce anger.


During the month of September, we are reflecting upon God’s Creation and our stewardship of the environment. These words from Jeremiah originally had to do with the invasion from the unnamed aggressor from the North. They come to us from about the 6th century before the Common Era. Yet, they have a contemporary resonance. Jeremiah begins chapter 4 with the confronting statement ‘for my people are foolish, they do not know me …’. The question we could ask ourselves, have we been foolish and how does this connect to our faith in God. Have we been foolish with God’s creation?

Most of us accept that there are some strange things happening with our environment: droughts, floods, rising seas, hotter climates, very wet winters in some places or drier in others. This we put down to ‘Climate Change’. Yet, for all the obvious signs we have been very slow to address the problem. There are still quite a few people who put their heads in the sand and just deny that there is a problem. I first began to take it seriously when I was the Parish Priest in Port Lincoln in the 1990’s. The local farmers were aware that something was changing. Seasons had become unpredictable, and harvest was being delayed to much later that what had been the norm. Many farmers who know the land well began to talk about ‘Climate Change’. Farmers, in my experience, are not normally associated with the Radical Left! It should be very obvious to us all that we have a very problem. Taking a lead from Jeremiah, we have been foolish, and we continue to be foolish if we do not read the signs of the times. Could it be that God is trying to tell us something?

  1. Lambeth and Climate Change

As most of you know Susan and I had the great privilege of attending ‘Lambeth 2022’. There is much we can and will share with you about ‘Lambeth’, but a dominant theme of the conference was ‘Caring for God’s Creation’. Lambeth Conference despite its name takes place in Canterbury, but we travelled to Lambeth for a day at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London home. The garden is a source of great joy, however the extreme heat for the UK has impacted the garden terribly. Centuries old trees with shriveled leaves could well die for lack of water. There were water restrictions in the UK so putting a hose on them was not permissible. We also learnt that plants that normally only thrive in the tropics and warm climates are not being planted in England. We have our own problems with rising seas washing over many islands in the Torres Strait, and strange weather patterns that oscillate between drought and flood.

  • The Human Cost

At Lambeth we were reminded of the human cost of ‘Climate Change’, not to mention the cost to the animal and natural world, as well. In many places throughout the world lives are lost due to famine caused through ‘Climate Change’ through lack of necessary resources such as water and arable land to grow crops or graze cattle. The Fifth Mark of mission of the Anglican Communion’s five marks of mission is to ‘Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.

  • So, what do we do? What can I do?
  • Don’t be foolish! What often comes to me when I travel overseas is that Australia is an isolated country, and we tend to live in a little bit of a bubble. The events of the world are often kept away from us either by own choice or by a selective media. Denying the impact of Climate Change is foolish and it is catching up with us. We must act now!
  • Be attentive to our own carbon footprint. What can I change in my own lifestyle to reduce my own carbon footprint? Take public transport, walk, use less electricity …
  • Do not open more coal mines! We need to look for other sources of energy – wind, solar, water, etc.
  • Plant Trees – The Anglican Communion’s program ‘The Communion Forest’ seeks to encourage Anglicans and others to engage in reforestation and to plant trees. The goal is for all of us to plant trees wherever we can!
  • Eat more vegetables and less meat, and this from someone who loves a nice piece of fillet steak with bearnaise sauce! The use of land for cattle has led to de forestation throughout the world. We need forests to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
  • Love God and God’s creation. It God’s world and he made it to be beautiful, enjoyed and cared for. Let’s not continue to destroy it with our foolishness.

I looked, and there was no one at all,
    and all the birds of the air had fled.
26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert,
    and all its cities were laid in ruins
    before the Lord, before his fierce anger.

+Chris McLeod -Dean