We began Advent last Sunday with a focus on hope. As you and I have prayerfully prepared for the United Nations Climate Change talks over the days since, I’ve found it inspiring to see so many examples of people choosing hope over despair.
Previously unexpected signs of hope have begun to sprout almost everywhere – especially within faithful stories that I’ve received this week from church members, leaders, and congregations about the commitments they are making to be part of this effort. And within the political arena, too, some of our leaders are saying and doing things that to me seemed unimaginable (though not likely beyond Holy Imagination) just a few short weeks ago.
Don’t underestimate the impact that our witness as people of faith may have had in encouraging these hopeful signs, or the impact that we may yet have.
At our best, we bring moral and spiritual leadership: leadership that imagines how God’s love for the world can be known and inspires us to bring it into being; leadership that recognizes we are faced with an unprecented call to courage; leadership that understands climate change is about choosing justice over oppression, joy over fear, and hope over despair.
I am humbled to stand among former Moderators who understand this so well and give so selflessly of their leadership:
Peter Short, who encouraged me to accept participation in the Copehagen meeting as part of my call and sustains me in prayer.
Bill Phipps, who today begins an eight-day fast as an offering of support, encouragement, and solidarity. “Giving up food is my offering and prayer, an embodiment of the struggle to save our fragile world,” says Phipps.” You can see more about what Bill is doing and where he will be each day at: http://www.billphipps.ca/ecojusticefast.html
Stan McKay, who has sent me a reminder of the dramatic impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples, especially noting the struggles of the Arctic and the Inuit peoples. As I arrive in Copenhagen, Stan will be at the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Centre for the winter ceremonies and will remember the World Council delegation (of which we are part) as he sits by the sacred fire.
Walter Farquharson, who has decided to plant a special tree in his community tree plantation and plaque it as a celebration of our church’s participation in the Copenhagen talks and the larger call to environmental faithfulness. He reminded me of Isaiah 55: The purposes of God will be fulfilled. God’s Word in creation and in community does not return to God an empty thing – and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!
And more amazing responses from Marion Best, David Giuliano, Bruce McLeod, Marion Pardy, Bob Smith, Anne Squire, and Lois Wilson (please forgive the lack of well-deserved honorary titles here). These precious leaders are the embodiment of love.
On this second Sunday of Advent I think of them with gratitude and look forward in hope that the leaders assembling in Copenhagen will choose love, in order that climate disaster may be averted.
I’ll be blogging here on a daily basis through December 18th (in Copenhagen from the 12th to 18th), watching for and cherishing your comments as well! Please tell me about the ways in which you will choose love, so that the trees of the field will clap their hands.