Thought for the Week – 25.11.21

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For the healing of the nations

The climate conference in Glasgow was billed as the biggest, but quickly lost media headlines.  It was trumpeted as the most inclusive – but non-governmental organisations, activists, indigenous groups lacked access to power.  It was presented as our last chance – but its agreements are tame and any nation can ignore them.

Before, many young people were in despair, facing a life of pandemics, extreme weather, shortages, vast movements of people.  It’s not only us – wild animals, insects, trees and plants all suffer.

How do we break patterns of consumerism, of taking more than the Earth can sustain? How can we be our brother’s keeper when we close the gates of Europe against the desperate, persecuted, hopeless, as climate change causes war, drought, famine?

At the end of the final book of the Bible we hear of the ‘new Jerusalem’, where beside a clear river grows the Tree of Life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.  Peace can come and the earth can heal us. God’s plan is for the good of all.

The Book of Revelation is anything but peaceful, full of storminess, destruction, and suffering.  Nor is the gift of healing the nations cheap, though it is free.  The scriptures call us to be co-workers in the healing, aware of the needs and rights of our fellow human beings.

Many of us make small sacrifices and cut back on what we own, eat, wear, waste, loving our neighbour by practical action, and I believe that prayer magnifies the effect.  By setting ourselves aside, we become fully ourselves in permitting God to take us out of egocentricity to become more fully ourselves, letting our true inner core to shine through.

Christians are called to action too, hence so many were present, singing, protesting, debating, urging, at COP26. One practical act is not to buy more than we need; nor from companies, especially the ones with international power, unless we are satisfied they respect the planet, in production, transport, recycling; and in their morals over staff treatment, from producing raw materials to doorstop deliveries.

Commitment to prayer, to protest wrongdoing, to practical service, to healing, are present at the heart of Christian faith.

Whenever we give the natural world a chance to recoup, to regenerate, it is astonishing how fast it does so – it is as if nature is on our side, hoping to heal us and our nations.