I invited my friend Alanna Mitchell to speak at a “brown bag lunch” in the General Council Office yesterday, and was amazed yet again at her mixture of scientific understanding, extraordinary talent as a communicator, and deep hope.
After sharing disturbing scientific facts about the crisis in the global ocean, she then read words of hope from her book Sea Sick: “Hope just is. You can’t run through a checklist to get to it. Yes, it is absurd and irrational. But, like love, it is human. Like laughter, hope catches and spreads. It works logarithmically, like the changes now under way on our planet, like our growing understanding of them and like our powerful collective human ability to start coping with them.”
We go to Copenhagen to catch and spread hope, to be part of this powerful, collective human–divine experience, led by Spirit. And while science grounds us in reality, hope will inspire the necessary changes to the ways we live on this planet. We attend to both.
A couple of weeks ago David MacDonald and I wrote an open letter to Canadians about how science and faith must intersect in Copenhagen. We said, “Science tells us what is and, given certain parameters, what will come to be. Spiritual values teach us what ought to be. Only the two, working together, can see us safely through this perilous time.”
It’s been gratifying to see this letter picked up for translation on a Danish website and in places such as the following: The Christian Post (U.S.), the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, and Science and Religion Today.
Our spiritual values are indeed the source of our hope, and I was moved by how the Rev. Darrow Woods of Trinity United Church in Oakville preached about this at the beginning of Advent.
So in these final days of preparing to go to the UN climate change talks, I find myself immersed in an ocean of hope: reading scripture; praying for all, including government decision-makers; and gathering stories, images, and poetry—for it is in these habits of the heart where hope will be given enough space to change us and the ways we live.