Saying Yes to Life Session 3
Saying Yes to Life Session 3
Session 3 of the Saying Yes to Life lent study explores the literary and historical context of the creation account of Genesis 1 and the significance of light and darkness in the bible and the modern world.
Saying Yes to Life

Let the land produce vegetation

Featured Bible Verse

Genesis 1:9-13, Psalm 1. 


This home group lent study explores our connection to the land and its vegetation and creates space to reflect. It aims to inspire practical action towards a world filled with God’s justice. It also features an interview with Bernadette Kabonesa, a Senior Research Technician at the Ugandan National Agricultural Research Organisation.  

This session is formed from the discussion questions from the end of chapter 3 of Ruth Valerio’s book Saying Yes to Life. As such, the questions often reference the book. 

Featured Quote

The affirmation of the goodness of the land and the plants and the trees is a reminder to us that we do not have a disembodied faith but one that is rooted: rooted in place and land and in the whole world that God has created. The wider creation is not simply the background – it is the context within which we live out our faith and is an integral part of how we work out our salvation. (p. 58)


Watch this chapter’s interview with Bernadette Kabonesa. She is a Senior Research Technician at the Ugandan National Agricultural Research Organization and an expert forester.

Lent Course Notes from the Diocese of Bristol

This is a God who loves to bless; a God who delights in growth and richness, who wants his creatures to live in fullness of life. Some years ago I made a tapestry that hangs proudly on my wall of a peacock in the woods. Can you imagine how I would feel if I came home one day to find my daughters had put it on the floor and were using it to wipe their muddy feet? I’d be horrified . . . devastated . . . so upset! Well, I can tell you with complete certainty that would never happen. Why? Because they love me and would never dream of doing something so terrible to the tapestry I value so much. And they love it too, because I love it. God’s affirmation of the goodness and value of this world (not a sinking vessel) spurs us on therefore to take care that we do not wipe our footprints all over it, leaving it damaged and wrecked. {pages 54, 57}

Every region of the world has its issues with deforestation. In South America, the Amazon is being lost due
predominantly to forest conversion for cattle ranching for beef, and just today as I am writing this, a new report has come out claiming satellite imaging has shown that an area of Amazon rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is being cleared every minute. Safeguarding the Amazon, which captures 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, is vital in the fight against climate change. {pages 72, 74}

What Action Will You Take?

  1. Connect with Creation. Take a walk in local woodland Use less meat and dairy.
  2. Ask your MP and council what actions they have take to reduce emissions.

List of Questions for home groups from Chapter 3 of the Book Saying Yes To Life

  1. This chapter talks about a false dualism that separates out body and spirit, earth and heaven, natural and spiritual, and views body/earth/natural as inferior. Does this reflect the Christian tradition within which you stand? Where have you seen it played out? How does a fresh realisation of the place of land and trees in the Bible affect your thinking? 
  2. How aware are you of your connectedness to the land? What helps you appreciate that more deeply? 
  3. In what ways have colonisation impacted your country?
  4. Consider how your actions impact on forests, whether through mean that comes from deforested land or wood and paper products you may buy. What steps could you and your church take in response?
  5.  Finish by reflecting on Psalm 1, asking God to root you deeply into him through the rhythms and practices of your life.

A prayer from El Salvador 

Prayer for trees and earth 

God of creation, you have taught us to love life. That our longing for life should be above all other desires; a transcendent longing that values all of creations living creatures. The earth and trees groan because of our failure to care for and protect them, ruling over and profiting from them rather than protecting them from death. We have viewed the earth as a resource to be exploited rather than as our mother. We accept the challenge of taking care of ourselves in order to care for the earth our mother and our common home, for the trees and for life itself. We recognise that you have given us an understanding greater than other living creatures in order to reflect your creative, communal and loving character towards everything that exists. Lord, we commit to live caring for all nature, guarding our hearts from selfish desires and not living as proprietors, but as brothers and sisters in community with all living things, especially the trees that are the source of life.

Gerson Ramírez is a theologian and member of Tearfund’s Young Theologians, of the Transforma Jóven (Transform Youth) movement in Honduras and of the Micah Network youth movement. He is a theology teacher and a consultant on issues of development and theology of missions for churches and organizations in El Salvador and Central America.  

Useful Links:

To get your church engaged in caring for God’s world, join A Rocha’s Eco Church scheme. It provides a range of resources and advice.

Advocacy and campaigning:

Further Church Resources:

Useful Reports:

Painting © Jon White