So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Romans 12:1, The Message.
Like many households around the country, during the storms this spring we experienced a power cut. Working remotely, there was a slight lag between happily chatting away on a Zoom call and noticing that I’d been disconnected.
The other adults emerged from our various home offices whilst my six nephews and nieces ran around the house trying all the light switches. Realising that the power wasn’t going to come back immediately, thoughts turned to what we couldn’t do for the foreseeable future. The children started listing things: no TV, no music, no games on the tablet, no Xbox, no electric piano (my musical niece). For myself, I’d miss my afternoon cuppa, my phone with its dwindling battery, and my ability to work (I did have Covid at the time so it was a blessing in disguise and a big hint from God to rest!)
As the power cut continued into the evening, we were challenged to look at our situation in a different way. Instead of thinking about the negatives and complaining about all the things we couldn’t do without power, what could we do instead?
So without the distraction of our various devices, we completed a jigsaw puzzle and read books in the fading light, we enjoyed a candlelit dinner and a relaxing colouring-in session, and played board games. For a change, we spent time together as a family rather than being tucked away in our different rooms doing our own thing. We kept peering out of the windows looking for signs of light along the dark street, hoping that all was well with our neighbours too.
This 9-hour power cut and ‘rest’ from the norm gave me time to reflect. Firstly, it’s scary how much I am dependent on energy to live my daily life. In Romans 12, Paul urges us to offer our whole lives as a sacrifice.
How do I take my ‘walking-around life and place it before God as an offering’ in a manner that also takes care of God’s earth and in a way that loves my global and local neighbours? How do I treat precious, but dwindling, resources with care and love? I know I constantly need God’s help to change from the inside out.
Thinking about the twin biodiversity and climate crises, how can we re-frame the narrative when we seek to put limits on our lifestyle, either by personal choice or by enforcement? For we will all have to take serious measures to reduce our carbon footprint in order to reach net zero as a country.
Surely, when we say ‘no’ to something we are also saying ‘yes’ to living in a different way. And living in a way that is less individualistic, and is mindful of our part within a greater community, is a way to live out Romans 12. Through prayer, through our actions, and by speaking out for change, we can love our neighbours across the world and build a fairer world that works for everyone. My encouragement, in the words of the Message, is to take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.
This reflection was written by Sara Kandiah for the Wild Christian email, ‘Nature and rest.’ Sara is A Rocha UK’s Eco Church Support Officer.