Address to the People’s climate march 29 Nov 2015, Coffs Harbour
Rev. Dr Jason John, Uniting Earth Ministry, Uniting Church
This isn’t addressed to everyone, because not everyone is contributing to climate change, or benefitting from global warming. But we know who we are.
Who do we want to be when we grow up? (and we need to grow up- quickly!)
Are we going to be like that bastard Noah, who built his ark and left everyone else to drown as the sea rose? If we’re ok it’s all ok?
Are we going to escape some other way? Maybe waiting around for the very unbiblical hope to fly away into heaven and leave everyone else behind to rot? Or, in the secular world, put all our hopes in a spaceship to fly our species to another world as this one degrades beyond the point of return? Perhaps repeating on a large scale what we’ve already done on a small one: fleeing the cities to set up life for ourselves in paradise (If so, bear in mind that none of us standing here are going to get a ticket on that ship).
Are we going to sit around and wait for God to show up and fix this mess, as some of the early Christians did when overwhelmed at magnitude of the injustices around them? And remembering that they started saying over 2000 years ago that God would be here “any day now” to fix things. Or perhaps wait for a Godlike corporation to save the day- cut the green tape and red tape so they can get on with making lots of money and giving us jobs, so we can then afford to fix the environment they ruined making the money?
What would happen instead if we or our nations acted like Zacchaeus, who when he heard the good news that he was loved, and the challenging news that everyone else was loved just as much, gave up half his wealth and privilege, and reimbursed everyone he had exploited five times over? What would our world look like if the rich nations did a Zacchaeus?
Or did a prodigal son? Returning humbly to the earth family when they finally came to their senses after wasting so much of the family’s resources?
Or the rich young man, who went off, admittedly sadly, to share his possessions with the poor so that he could follow Jesus?
As we head towards Christmas it’s worth remembering that it’s those kind of encounters and responses which Jesus was talking about when he said that his followers ought to be doing for others what they would want done for them, if the tables were turned.
Thank you for gathering here today, as we call on our leaders to remember those others around the world. To stop just offering words about climate change, and agree to sacrificial deeds on behalf of other humans, and other creatures, now and in generations to come.