Ministers message, as published in the Church Gazette
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 15:1-2, NRSV
As I write it’s September 20th and across the globe thousands upon thousands of young people, accompanied by many others who stand with them in solidarity, are taking part in the global climate strike calling for climate action.
The commitment, tenacity and sheer numbers of the young people taking part should be nothing less than a wakeup call to us all as we hear the message they calmly but clearly declare – it is time for climate action.
Their message is one that as Christians I believe we should be actively supporting, encouraging and listening to, as they challenge us and all society, as well as national decision makes, to live in ways that enable the flourishing of the world which God created and declared good.
As I reflect on these events, I’m challenge in three ways. Firstly I feel God convicting me in asking how I am playing my part to truly care for the environment? How much single use plastic did I put out in the rubbish today? How am I using my voice to bring people’s attention to the immediate action that needs to be taken as individuals, and as communities and societies to save ourselves from ourselves?
Secondly, I’m struck by the unwavering boldness and passion these young people demonstrate, and feel God asking me where I find that same unwavering boldness and passion in his church. What fires us up? What issues rally us to unite and stand together?
Thirdly, I’ve been stunned by the arrogance and rudeness people have responded to these young people with – which has been patronising, hurtful and deeply judgmental. It challenges me to be aware that when others challenge our behaviour, practices and activities as individuals or as church, or bring fresh ideas, our response should not be dismissal or arrogance, but one of openness, listening and reflecting and being willing to consider change. Otherwise we end up like those Pharisees and Scribes grumbling about who Jesus was spending his time with, and entirely missing the message.
As church, society, country, and climate, I think in one way or another we stand at a crossroads – and we all have a part to play in the road ahead. So the challenge we’re left with…
How will we respond?
Tel: 01243 823895