The Sabbath is about covenant joy
One of the biblical themes which holds together "creation" and "covenant" is the provision of "the Sabbath" - when, we are told, God "rested" from the work of creation and "was refreshed" (Gen 2.3; Exod 31.17), and when God's people were to refrain from work (Exod 20.10), and to recall God's deliverance of them from slavery (Deut. 5.15). Rest and reflection leads to worship, to refreshment, and to enjoyment. A good Sabbath leads to ‘delight in the Lord' (Isa 58.14) rather than serving our own interests; we can link this to the enjoyment the Lord God presumably had walking round the Garden in the cool of the evening (Gen.3.8). We recall that Jesus used the Sabbath for the welfare of his fellow human beings. Sabbath, then, is about the enjoyment of the created order. It is also about reflection on the needs of others.
It was on the Sabbath day that Jesus linked the prophecy of Isaiah to himself "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour". This last reference is to the jubilee laws of Leviticus 25, a "Sabbath of complete rest for the land" (Lev 25.4) which stood as a reminder that, as the psalmist put it, "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it" (Ps. 24.1).
Climate change is a forceful reminder that the work of technology is not enough; humanity and the whole earth need a rhythm of worship, rest and refreshment.
Justice is the covenant obligation
At the heart of the covenant of God with his people is a call to "Do justice". The psalmist links together God's creation with his character: "Happy are those...whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. (Ps 146)".
Sustainable development goes hand in hand with the obligations forced on us by climate change. The alleviation of poverty, an equitable distribution of the rich resources of God's earth, environmental conservation, and fair and just adaptation to climate change are inseparably woven together. The task climate changes forces on us is not simply about reducing carbon emissions, crucially important though that is. It is also about seeking a global consensus on a fair way of adapting as a planet to climate change. Commitment to the God who is ‘on the side of the poor' makes it imperative forChristian people to consider the needs of the poorest countries of the world as well as the poor on the margins in their own communities.As climate change mostly affects the poor and needy of the world, the obligation to care grows on the nations which have enough.