The word alphabet is a compound of the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta. The English alphabet emerged in the 7th century, far later than the Greek one which was formed around 800 BC. The final letter of the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet is omega, hence ‘alpha’ and ‘omega’ meaning the ‘beginning’ and the ‘end’ or ‘first’ and ‘last’. Humans tend to think in terms of beginning and endings in a finite simplistic way but quantum physics tells us that neither zero nor infinity has an actual value! Some scientists say there are a finite number of atoms in an expanding universe whereas others conjecture that they are decreasing. Back to reality - this compost heap has two bins, one is a beginning and the other an ending, but then even that recycling process is a continuum. When one side is emptied, it then in turn becomes the new side once more. Life is not as simple as Lewis Carroll has it: ‘“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop”’ – Alice in Wonderland
- ‘With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
- ‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end’ – Seneca
- ‘If you learn something new every day, you can teach something new every day’ – Martha Stewart
- ‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning ‘ – Winston Churchill
- ‘What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from’ – T S Eliot
The current world death rate (c.50 million pa) is slower than the world birth rate (c.110 million pa). This means the seemingly infinite population growth is set to strip the earth of its finite resources with the consequent ecological traumas. The world’s population doubled from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion in 1999 and is now approaching 8 billion. Where to begin with this dilemma? Thomas Robert Malthus foresaw this problem in 1798 and proposed two solutions! Firstly, he suggested ‘preventive checks’, like the ‘moral restraint’ of postponing marriage! Then so-called ‘positive checks’, like famine, disease and warfare! What do you think he would say today?
- ‘Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning’ – John Henry Newman
- ‘There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory’ – Francis Drake
- ‘If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair’ – C S Lewis
- ‘It makes a big difference to recycle. It makes a big difference to use recycled products. It makes a big difference to reuse things, to not use the paper cup - and each time you do, that's a victory’ - Emily Deschanel
Germany has the best recycling rate in the world, followed closely by Austria, South Korea and Wales all achieving over 50%. Chile, Mexico, Turkey and Greece are the lowest as they recycle only c.1%. Plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose but many plastic items in landfills are believed to take up to 1000 years. By contrast, the humble compost bin takes 6-12 months. Recycling of metals, printer cartridges and paper still is multi-million dollar business, so the old adage that, ‘where there’s muck, there’s brass’ is true. There is a mind-set in all of this recycling and the new versus old debate which many adopt but not all. Charity (or ‘thrift) shops are big earners for charities – they have greatly increased as people take up sustainability and green issues for economic and moral reasons. Are you a ‘recycler’ in mind-set and action? Have you found that you have changed in all of this in recent years? Is there a right or a wrong stance for the child of God and what might the Lord say to us?
- ‘As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’ – 1 Peter 4:10
- ‘Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful’ – 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
- ‘But Jesus has been given a greater work to do for God. He is the go-between for the new covenant. This covenant is better than the old one. The new covenant is based on better promises’ – Hebrews 8:6
- ‘For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now’ – Romans 8:22
- ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!’ – 2 Corinthians 5:17
- ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea ... He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”... He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”’ – Revelation 21:1-7
Did it ever strike you as curious that the ‘Old’ Covenant could be improved upon? It is not that God’s Word could be bettered but that he would make it even ‘easier’ for human beings to relate with him through the perfect complete work of his own Son, the Alpha and Omega. Jesus ushers in the ‘New’ Covenant which covers everything from beginning to end – it is fully comprehensive.
- ‘The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy’ – Psalm 65:8
- ‘Jesus said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures’ – Luke 24:44-45
Where does this leave us? The Pilgrim Fathers set off for a ‘new world’ in 1620 but in truth discovered and developed pretty much the ‘old world’ that is still our world today. Antonín Dvořák composed his ‘New World’ symphony in 1893 but the world didn’t change even if his world did. Our world is still changing as it moves closer to ‘the edge’ but the ‘Alpha and Omega’ changes not ‘yesterday, today or forever’ – he has your beginning and end in hand. Now, back to those compost bins – it’s about time they got turned around!
https://connect4life.org.uk/c4l-videos-4-life - This Fragile Planet
TAGS – hope, revival, renewal, enlightenment, survival, planet, future, Armageddon