In the Communion of Struggle

This morning the wonderful poet Judy Brown sent me an amazing Denise Levertov poem entitled Beginners.

These words could not have arrived on a more poignant day.

As Hurricane Sandy furiously raps and rustles at my windows, I consider the poet’s words: “We have only begun to love the earth…”

Perhaps Sandy is trying to wake us up to a deeper love. Maybe today we will begin to find “the power that is in us if we would join our solitudes in the communion of struggle…”

David Roithkopf who blogs for Foreign Policy magazine writes of his hope that Sandy will end “the sad virtual silence” about climate change in the U.S. Presidential election, and refers to climate change as that “which amounts to nothing less than a planet-wide risk of the first order.”

Our neighbours of the Global South have lost loved ones to unprecedented weather events for some time. They recognize this as the consequence of global warming, caused largely by our northern greed, and they too have been waiting for us to awaken – to awaken to their pain and the need for us to make dramatic reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions.

Bill McKibben suggests that we start naming these unprecedented hurricanes and storms after oil companies. Not a bad idea, in my opinion – not to demonize the oil companies which are, after all, only meeting our demands; but rather to help us all name the truth of how we together must turn away from our high consumption of fossil fuels which is jeopardizing planetary life, including our own.

So I’m provoked by two questions which Levertov’s poem asks of me today, and maybe of you:
What power is in me which I can bring to the communion of struggle?
What is unfolding here that must complete its gesture?

May our responses, in prayer and action awaken us to what is in the bud.

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