New Sabbath studies published by environmental network

New Sabbath studies published by environmental network

“At the beginning of the 21st century, does Christianity have a view about an ideal human society?”

Responding to this question, Bishop George Browning, past convenor of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, reflects that such a society must “address rapidly growing inequity and … confront an economic system which operates as if resources are infinite and that humanity can somehow exist as if it is not part of an unfolding ecological crisis.”

In a new series of reflections, Bishop Browning explores the roots and meaning of Sabbath and how a fresh understanding and practice of this biblical concept can reconnect economics to ethics, and shape human society in a manner that is consistent with the creation upon which it depends.

“As Christians we have inherited a story that speaks Good News to all creation. I believe the Sabbath narrative, where we understand God not ‘ceasing the work’ of creation, but rather ‘being present to’ creation, has the capacity to change behaviour and life style. It is strong enough to replace our prevailing narrative predominated by economic success with one of human and environmental well-being.”

He says, “As humans, we know that our primary relationships are dependent upon trust – and trust is rooted in expectations of fidelity, while fidelity means the acceptance of limits. Why would our relationship with creation be any different?”

Through the seven Sabbath reflections, Bishop Browning sets out to look closely at “the Sabbath principles which do no change, but which have to be interpreted afresh for each generation as peculiar sets of challenges are faced and lived out in a rapidly changing world.”

“Creation and redemption are the twin and interdependent theologies that emerge from a reading of scripture. God is the creator of all things: what God creates, God is also committed to redeeming. Our understanding of creation should always be informed by our understanding of redemption; and of equal importance, our understanding of redemption should be informed by our understanding of creation … The Kingdom of God is the celebration of Sabbath economics, of generous hospitality and sacrificial compassion, of investment in all that builds community, and the rejection of amassing fortunes in barns.”

The seven Sabbath reflections are designed for individual or group use in parishes, seminaries and other study environments. They have been produced as pamphlets for download here:

  1.  Sabbath: God’s Relationship with Creation; the Template for Human Society
  2. Sabbath: Presence, not Withdrawal
  3. Sabbath: Blessing and Hallowing within the Family of Creation
  4. Sabbath: Embracing Jubilee
  5. Sabbath Economics: The Theology of Enough
  6. Jesus: Sabbath Life, Fully Lived
  7. Sabbath: The “Yet to Come”

More information about the Anglican Communion Environmental Network

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