Meet the writers: Martin and Margot Hodson, Bible Reflections for Older People, January–April 2021
Margot Hodson is theology and education director for the John Ray Initiative (JRI), an educational organisation connecting environment, science and Christianity, and associate vicar in the Shill Valley and Broadshire Benefice in West Oxfordshire. Martin Hodson is a plant scientist and environmental biologist and has over 100 publications mostly in international science journals. He works at both universities in Oxford, and is operations director for JRI. The Hodsons have published widely together on Christianity and the environment, including A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues (BRF, 2015; new edition April 2021). They both really enjoy walks out into the Cotswolds from their Vicarage.
We asked Martin and Margot about their series of reflections for Bible Reflections for Older People ‘Storms and fair weather’ (January–April 2021).
What do you enjoy/value most about writing for Bible Reflections for Older People?
We love writing for different groups of people: some are specialists such as scientists and church ministers but much or our writing is for anyone who is interested in the environment. With Bible Reflections for Older People, we are writing for all those groups as they get older. We think carefully about the issues they face. The challenge is fitting each reflection into 250 words!
What inspired your series on ‘Storms and fair weather’?
We are environmentalists, and most of our writings are in some way connected with the environment. Our previous two series were on trees and landscapes, and our editor, Eley McAinsh, suggested that maybe we could look next at weather in the Bible. We had already done a lot on climate change in the past, and Martin took part in two national tours on the subject in 2008 and 2009. It seemed like a good fit.
What did you learn from writing it?
How much weather there is in the Bible! There are storms and winds, floods and droughts. There is even snow if you look hard enough. We learnt that you could find God in all of those weather events, and you could learn something of his character in them all.
What is the key thing you hope your readers might take away from the series?
This is a slightly unusual series as there are two things! Firstly, we wanted readers to be comforted whether they are going through one of life’s storms or they find themselves becalmed. With Bible Reflections for Older People we usually write reflections that centre on pastoral or spiritual matters. Secondly, a number of our reflections for ‘Storms and fair weather’ focused on climate change. All ages are now worried about this. Younger people are concerned about their future, and older people frequently wonder what kind of environment they will leave for their grandchildren. In November 2021, we will have the crucial United Nations climate change meeting in Glasgow, and we hope our readers will be encouraged to pray about that. It really is very important for us all, whatever age we are.
Follow the link below to download Martin and Margot's reflections, ‘Storms and fair weather’ which feature in the January–April 2021 issue of Bible Reflections for Older People.
Martin and Margot have also gathered all their BRF reflections under one roof. In Green Reflections we have three series from Bible Reflections for Older People, one from Guidelines, and one from Sharing Resources in the Holy Habits series. Add in ten totally new ones specially written for Green Reflections, and we have 62 in total. The book is wonderfully illustrated with paintings by Martin Beek. It is due to be published on 23 April 2021. We thought you might like a taster, so here is one of the new set of reflections, again written in a slightly different style.
Making choices in our crowded consumer world
1 Peter 4:10–11 (NIV, abridged)
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms… so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
When lockdown happened in spring 2020, shopping became more and less complicated: more complicated because of all the restrictions, and less complicated because we all simply made do. We used up flour and other dried and tinned items in the cupboards that had been hanging around for a long time. We didn’t think of buying clothes, because a change of a pair of jeans, a few T-shirts and a couple of ‘Zoom shirts’ seemed to do the trick. Though we weren’t major buyers of fashion or other items, we had been consumers. It was good to stop and reflect.
In rebuilding our world, we need to prioritise ways of living lightly, to give the planet space to renew itself. This means finding ways to build an economy that is not based around endless consumerism and waste. Our world is highly interconnected but continues injustices from the past, with millions of people living in poverty. How can we rebuild a fairer global economy that will eradicate poverty and help to stabilise human population without increasing consumerism?
We have had a harsh light shone on many aspects of our world that are unjust and unsustainable. Our task is to use our gifts to be part of building a better world and one that points more clearly towards God’s peaceable kingdom.
Lord, help us, in rebuilding our world, to build one that points towards your kingdom of peace and justice for all people and creation.
Pre-order Green Reflections