in joyful mood today! I
should be – for in one week’s time, October 23 – there is a
major birthday. Yes
indeed! According to Archbishop
Ussher’s chronology of Biblical history, it was on the morning
of October 23, 4004BC that the Universe was created.
was a pre-eminent 17th century scholar, well respected in
his day, and the author of 17 volumes, including his “Annals of the
Old and New Testaments”, a work which, based on various genealogies
and dates in the Bible, led him to his belief in the age of the earth.
Someone, we don’t know who, incorporated his dating into the
margins of the King James Bible where it remained, in many printings,
right through into the 20th century.
course, the only thing we can be certain about with his chronology is
that it’s incorrect – so sadly we won’t be having a big party
next weekend. However,
some other chronologies are not that far off it.
The Jewish calendar makes the earth a bit younger, the
Byzantine calendar some one and a half thousand years older.
not sure it matters too much except to remind us that that the Genesis
account of creation gives a purpose and a meaning to life, and is the
foundation for the whole record of the Bible story.
A story that really starts to make a lot more sense when we
recognize God as our creator, recognize his care for us, and recognize
the responsibility he gave us to look after his creation.
after” creation is a hot topic at the moment so I was delighted to
’s leading conservationist has become the first African woman to be
awarded the Nobel peace prize.
Maathai was given the award in recognition of what the Nobel committee
called her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and
peace. Among other things, in 1977 she founded the Green Belt movement
which has spurred people to plant millions of trees in
. It is recognition she well deserves – and I hope the award is a
stimulus to others to get involved in doing more to preserve the
more is becoming a crucial issue, not just in Africa, but across the
world, if we are to believe the findings of the Climate
Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL at Mauna Loa
. They report that there
have been seriously above average Carbon Dioxide emissions for the
last two years and that maybe we need to look at the whole idea of
global warming a lot more seriously.
They recognise that there may be other reasons for the above
average readings, but point out that if the readings continue in this
way in the future that we may be near the brink of runaway global
warming. And that is an
issue that affects all of us. Crop
and fishing patterns would change.
Flooding would become more of an issue . . . , “And yes,”
you say with a yawn, “we’ve heard it all before.”
of course we have. I
remember my father buying a copy of , I think it was called, “The
Doomsday Book” -- back
in the 1960’s – foretelling the woe-begotten world we would be
living in by now, if earth itself was not wiped out by plague or
pestilence. We are still
here. We still have oil
and water, and there would be enough food to go round if we just
shared it out a bit better.
I think I should try and do my part to try and protect this lovely
planet, and I applaud the likes of Wangari Maathai.
May there be many more like her.
while on an African theme – congratulations this week for another
birthday celebration --
's most famous township was 100 years old on Tuesday.
became world famous when tens of thousands of black residents of
were moved there under the apartheid regime. During the 1970s it
became a centre for resistance to the racist government. Both former
president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu come from
– and a name that was perhaps infamous in the past is today famous
still has its problems – AIDS and unemployment being the major ones
– but there is also a lot of hope there in a vibrant community, as
one business man, Dan
Moyane states, "
is not a place of doom and gloom - it's a place of hope.
It's a place where some of us come and get inspiration.”
like it when somewhere is called a “place of hope”.
I like it when someone like Wangari Maathai is seen as a person
whether God created the world 4000 years ago next Saturday or a few
years earlier than that, I rejoice most of all that I see him as a God
of Hope – both for my life, my planet and my future.
“Hope.” One of the great words of the Christian faith.
Thank you Victor.