Exploring Faith and Community • Macalester Plymouth United Church
September 14, 2020
Rev. Adam Blons
Bill Gates, whose foundation focuses on global health issues, started an August 5, 2020 Gates Post blog entry this way:
“A global crisis has shocked the world. It is causing a tragic number of deaths, making people afraid to leave home, and leading to economic hardship not seen in many generations. Its effects are rippling across the world. Obviously, I am talking about COVID-19. But in just a few decades, the same description will fit another global crisis: climate change. As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse.”
Worse? It is hard to imagine and yet, the consequences of not reigning in the negative human impacts on the planet are dire. Gates quotes the International Energy Agency which is estimating that the COVID 19 pandemic will result in an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions this year. That would be great if that level of reductions could continue year after year. But consider the costs of achieving this…almost 900,000 people dead and tens of millions out of work. There are many ways to address climate change that cost so much less, but we need to step up our efforts now and ongoing. I think this is a central issue for many people in the upcoming election. We need leadership, not just nationally, but globally, that puts the future of the planet, for all people and all creation, front and center.
Gates says we must choose climate change solutions that work also for the world’s poor if we hope to reach the levels of change needed. This resonates with what we hear from Jesus. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) Serving the “least” among us must be connected to our care for creation. Our reverence for all life, all that breathes, all creation goes hand in hand with our efforts at racial and economic justice and getting through this pandemic.
We would like there to be simple solutions to our big problems. It sure would be easier to just deal with one problem at a time. But that is not the world in which we live. “Life is complex,” as my step-father was fond of saying. We sometimes assume faith is supposed to simplify life and make things easier. But rather than expecting God to magically make things easier, I think God is helping us make it through. God is with us in the complexity. In fact, I sense God calling me into the complexity.
This Creation Season, as we explore our call to be stewards of the Earth, how might we sit with the complexity of our current challenges and how might God be waiting for us there?