Environment Sunday Sermon: Consequences of Growing Population in Hong Kong Essay

Submitted By kyrmen
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Environment Sunday 2008 “Creation Groans” Psalm 104:24-30; Mt 6:28-30; Romans 8:18-25 God’s creation is all around us. Even in the cities built by human beings, it is present everywhere: in the flowers we keep on our windows, in the birds visiting our balconies and in the grass and trees of public parks. We tend to think of Hong Kong as a ‘concrete jungle’, so we enjoy whatever bit of nature we can find. However, anyone who investigates the city’s natural resources will quickly discover some amazing facts. Despite its small area and high population density, Hong Kong boasts incredibly rich and surprisingly diverse flora and fauna. Did you know that Hong Kong has: • • • • • • • 23 Country parks and 6 Special Areas, covering over 40% of HK’s total land area 400 known native species of trees (compared to 33 in the UK) Over 2000 native species of flora (compared to 30,000 in all of China) Almost 300 species of butterflies (compared to 55 in the UK) Almost 500 species of resident and migratory birds Over 80 species of hard coral (more than the Caribbean!) and Over 300 coral reef associated fish species? (information from Civic Exchange Hong Kong)

These statistics seems almost unbelievable even to nature lovers. Most of us simply aren’t aware of the incredible wonders in our own backyard. We’re so preoccupied with the man-made that we miss what’s happening to the things that God made. The Biblical writers were much closer to nature than we are today. The word ‘creation’ appears 55 times in Scripture. For example, in Psalm 104 the author marvels at the diversity of creation. He praises God who created the world and living creatures, provides for them and sustains life by His spirit. Listen to what the Psalmist says: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great…These all look up to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.” (Psalm 104:24-25,27-30) Jesus pointed to the beauty of nature to emphasize God’s care for human beings. In Matthew 6, he says: Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? (Mt.6:2830) Our faith today is indeed small. Even though we live in the most technologically advanced era the world has ever known, our real understanding of the planet is still so limited. We can get satellite images, maps and 3D photos of any place on the globe, thanks to the Internet. We can literally go to the ‘ends of the earth’ thanks to modern communication and transportation. But still we don’t comprehend what’s happening to God’s creation and how we are responsible. In Romans 8:22, St Paul speaks of the “groaning” of creation. It’s a powerful metaphor depicting the pain of a universe longing for salvation. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only have the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” We tend to think of humanity as the center of God’s saving act, but the apostle recognizes that creation’s suffering is even greater than ours. J. Mark Lawson says people of earlier times understood their place in the scheme of creation. They respected the limitations placed on them by nature. They were so aware of the natural world that “they would naturally think of creation’s existence as primary to their own, for they…