Metropolitan Jeronymos on Water and Environment for Climate-Resilient Development

Jeronymos Water Environment Climate
Clear Air, Clear Water. Credit: Michael Foley/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Flickr

His Eminence Metropolitan Jeronymos Muzeeyi of Kampala delivered his remarks on Water and Environment for Climate Resilient Development during the commemoration Week held in March 2023 amidst dignitaries from different divides of the country.

Reflecting on World Environment Day which was celebrated yesterday 5th June, we share his presentation which focuses on the teachings of the Ekklesia on ecological theology and humanity.

Presentation on water and environment for Climate-Resilient Development

I sincerely believe that an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to water and environmental issues can help our country Uganda, not only to be “the pearl of Africa”, but also to be truly the “Garden of Eden” of the holy scriptures. My remarks here below are a reflection of theological thoughts on the matter. Man is at the center since he was created in the image and likeness of the creator, God. And he was entrusted with the vocation “to cultivate it and to keep it” (Gen: 2:15).

  1. God’s creation was very good.

When faced with the ecological crisis of our times, obviously, there are many questions that raised. One temptation can be, among the questions raised to put the blame on God, the creator. But the scriptures’ narrations have no room for such a blame. For they say: on completion of His six-day creation “God saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

Very important was God’s care for water in the garden of Eden: “A stream flowed in Eden, it divided into four rivers” (Gen. 2:10). In this creation, man who was created in God’s image, had a vocation. “to … cultivate it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15).

There must be a reason why. The very reason could be summarized by saying: This world was given to man as a gift, – “a gift from God the Creator, a healing gift, a gift of wonder and beauty. Therefore, man’s proper response upon receiving such a gift, is to accept and embrace it with gratitude and thanksgiving”. In otherwards using it well for the glory of God.

Metropolitan Jeronymos blessing water water during the Theophany of our Lord
  • Man’s sin is the root cause of ecological crisis.

Man sinned. In his sin, everything changed. One could ask, what is sin? Sin is man’s rebellion against God the creator. His refusal to live by God’s will. It is the perversion of God’s purpose and order put in nature: (A good example in this case is homosexuality!). It is man’s deliberate refusal to have communion of love with God, fellow man and creation. As a result, man actually failed in his vocation. Instead, man was “passed under the domination of sin and of the evil”. Certainly, as a result of man’s sin, the human mind became so darkened, and the human will was impaired”. He could live by “exploitative control of resources”.

All times, he could be a being of “selfness and greed”. In this case, there was a need for an ontological transformation. This is what we call man’s repentance. You and I must repent to save human nature, to save the creation. In our fallen nature, St. Paul, could reveal the truth: “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pays” (Rom 8:22).

  • Christ’s mission of re-creation.

Le me make it very clear from the outset that, true Christians are and must be environments. This is because, the incarnation of the Word of God was to liberate man from his rebellion and in the process, the whole creation. Man in Christ is a new creature, something we referred to above as ontological transformation. To accept Christ, he must repent. A new creature is a son of God. He lives by the will of God St. Paul had noted it that “Creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19). Since “It will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom. 8:21). “The loving re-creation of the world by the divine word at the incarnation of God’s Son is very crucial in our understanding of our mission as followers of Jesus Christ. Indeed, Christians have to be models and have to play a decisive role in solving the environment crisis.

  • Man’s communion of love is the Key.

Earlier, we made it clear that man’s communion of love with God, his fellow man and creation was weakened as result of man’s rebellion. In Christ, man is reconciled to God. He is as well asked to live in communion of love, with fellow man and creation. Man’s vocation to receive creation as a gift from God is restored. His preparedness to us it well for the glory of God is manifested. Christ’s Church, which is an extension of the redeeming of mission, ever accept and embrace God’s gift with gratitude and thanksgiving in all its service. As a matter of fact, our generation has to understand that we are called upon as Christians to live fully in the communion of love for the salvation of creation. Important to note, this planet is “our home … it is also the home of everyone, as it is the home of every animal creature, as well as every form of life created by God”. Our generation should consider the same for the generation to come. The air we breathe, the water we drink and is the source of life, if it is defiled, the element and essence of our existence are threatened. This is true for us and for the generations to come.

  • Efforts to protect god’s creation.
Metropolitan Jeronymos planting a tree during the feast day of the presentation of Theotokos in Magoma

God’s people are called up to protect God’s creation. Who are God’s People? These are redeemed by Christ. Living by the will of God. These are sons of God by God. These are the people prepared to fight the evils of individualism and consumerism propelling the spirit of egoism. At the center of egoism is self-interest. Very often, man puffed up by egoism in our world of technological advancement leaves no room for God. It only brings about the spirit of secularism. Here man moves away from God’s creation. He creates his own world without God. In the Garden of Eden, we saw the rivers flowing. In man’s megacities, we see filth liquids flowing. Man must change. Man must change. The prophetic voice of the church is about the change. And this change means addressing poverty, inequality, discrimination, marginalization, domination, exploitation, etc. in all their forms. We must become “children of God by grace” to become Children of God to be fully committed to the will of God. This means to do away with egoistic tendencies. To be children of God also means to be faithful to God’s purpose and intent for creation. Environment degradation and destruction are torment to suicide.

1 thought on “Metropolitan Jeronymos on Water and Environment for Climate-Resilient Development”

  1. Glory be to God,I just want to appreciate the great work and efforts that you are practicing to see that you are practicing God’s creation.I really love Orthodox

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