13 Dec 13 December: Giving thanks
Sometimes you dare to hope …
People said it couldn’t be done. So many climate conferences had ended in failure. So many times, the nations of the earth had gathered, only to fragment into groups of self-interest. And yet, knowing God’s love for the world and God’s power, we’ve dared to hope … and pray … that this time could be different, that countries could come together to at least begin to tackle the challenges that face our common home.
And they did.
The Paris Agreement that was adopted yesterday isn’t perfect. But as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, it marks the first time that “every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause to take common climate action.”
This is a really significant step forward – and we give thanks to God for it as a step forward.
It is, admittedly, only a first step. The ambitions of the agreement are excellent – but there’s a gap between global ambitions and countries’ plans to fulfil them; between the needs of poor countries and the resources on offer. These are gaps that can still be filled, but that will require our continued prayer and action over the coming years. The path to greater climate justice and care for creation is going to be a long one.
But our hope is in in the One who hears the cry of the poor and the cry of creation. And knowing that transformation can occur, we can continue in hope and thanksgiving, trusting in God, who has been with us as we’ve prayed before and during this conference and who will be with us each step of the way.
In the speeches after the agreement was adopted, South African climate ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko quoted Nelson Mandela: “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
Thank God that negotiators and world leaders have taken that first step and climbed that first hill. And may God continue to lead our countries and all of us along the long road.
Coming together once more in prayer, we:
- Give thanks for the precious gift of Creation and our neighbours with whom we share it: praying that this agreement will truly help us to care for our common home and for each other.
- Give thanks for the skill and commitment of the UN and French teams who guided the COP21 conference, and for the sense of cooperation that made countries willing to work together
- Pray for the next steps along the journey that governments and others must take. We ask that God will guide them in fulfilling their commitments justly and in raising their ambition to meet the needs of the world.
- Pray for the next steps along the journey that each of us must take, asking God to give us the grace to speak and live in ways that reflect God’s love and justice,
- Pray that we can work together for God’s glory, the good of the earth and the good of all our neighbours.
Prayers from Pray & Fast for the climate
From “A Christian prayer in union with creation”
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
Of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you! Amen.