A week is a long time ….

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PropheticChurch

It’s been a torrid week – from the impassioned pleas of Greta Thurnberg at the UN Climate Action Conference, the dismissive responses from a few (mainly) rich and powerful men. including the US President, Donald Trump; through to the crass and bitter words in Parliament (and notably the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson) following the Supreme Court judgement and the recall of Parliament. A torrid week, that has left me (and no doubt others) reeling and emotionally tired, weary, perplexed and full of questions about the weeks ahead, and our collective futures.

In the UK in particular the focus inevitably has been on the plan to withdraw from the EU – or Brexit! At times it feels like as a nation we’ve talked about little else for three years, talked and argued and yet resolved nothing. Throughout that time no shared ground or common purpose has been sought, and therefore unsurprisingly none has really emerged. We find ourselves it would seem deeper and deeper entrenched in our positions of Leave or Remain often with little purpose, but none the less with powerful embedded emotions attached. It has become an all consuming issue – and that feels like it will never end; but of course it will.

One way or another, one day the issue of Brexit will be done with, either by leaving (with or without a deal) or otherwise by deciding to remain in the EU afterall. If we do leave, we would no doubt survive any economic consequences even if we, “the ordinary people”, the 99% are the ones paying the price of the new found riches of the few.If we remained we would feel few economic consequences but the bitterness and division would not subside overnight, and the entrenched battles may continue still longer.

To be honest, my real concern has never been the benefits or otherwise of trade arrangements and the like, or whether or not we will be “better off” economically if we leave or remain. Instead my chief concern was, and is increasingly, the genuine worry about what kind of country, what kind of a people we are becoming in the process. I struugle for signs of hope in the current gloom, I see fear, hatred and division – I do not know how, or when, we will be able to come together in reconciliation afterwards.

I hope and pray for the sake of our children, and our grandchildren they find a future that is compassionate, that is fair, that seeks for a genuine peace amongst peoples and between humanity and creation.

I hope our children are better people, kinder people, gentler people than we have been.

 

 

“Change is Coming…..”

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Today is the Autumn Equionx  which officially marks the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. An equinox occurs when the sun passes directly over the Earth’s equator, resulting in a day and night that equal in length, it’s always been marked as an important date, a sacred time, and one worthy of note.

At the weekend, on Plot 76 we held our own Equinox celebrations (I know we were a bit early) with songs, and poems and words we celebrated the good earth and the harvest, the changes in seasons and cycle of life, death and regrowth. One of the songs shared that evening was by Jean Ritchie an American folk musician, the song The cool of the day inspired by the verse from the book of Genesis (3.8) they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. The song written in 1971 is a comment also on the relationship between humanity and ecology, humanity and the planet, humanity and justice. Here’s the lyrics:

The Cool of the Day ….. Jean Ritchie*
And my Lord, He said unto me
Do you like My garden so fair
You may live in this garden if you keep the grasses green
And I’ll return in the cool of the day

And my Lord, He said unto me
Do you like my garden so pure
You may live in this garden, if you keep the waters clean
And I’ll return in the cool of the day

Now is the cool of the day
Now is the cool of the day
Oh this earth it is a garden, the garden of my Lord
And He walks in His garden
In the cool of the day

And my Lord, He said unto me
Do you like my pastures so green
You may live in this garden if you will feed My lambs
And I’ll return in the cool of the day

Now is the cool of the day
Now is the cool of the day
Oh this earth it is a garden, the garden of my Lord
And He walks in His garden
In the cool of the day

And my Lord, He said unto me
Do you like my garden so free
You may live in this garden if you keep the people free
And I’ll return in the cool of the day

Now is the cool of the day
Now is the cool of the day
Oh this earth it is a garden, the garden of my Lord
And He walks in His garden
In the cool of the day
Yes He walks in His garden
In the cool of the day

Forty eight years ago, thats how long ago these words were written – forty eight years ago, and yet their truth and the truths of the creation stories remain unchanged – this world, this planet is a thing we need to care for, to nurture and to love.

So last week also, on Friday 20th September 2019 the world witnessed millions of people, led by children taking to the streets to demand action in response to the climate crisis that faces the planet, the crisis that faces humanity. Amongst these millions of voices, one has stood out, one has inspired, has challenged, has echoed and spoken into the very soul of humanity; the voice of a young woman called Greta Thunberg. The world has known prophets before, they often have gone unheeded, they often have met opposition and have often suffered at the hands of the powerful – but they have spoken out, they have spoken truth to power, and their words have endured.

Today at the UN Conference on Climate Action, Greta Thunberg and others spoke once more about the threat to humanity and the planet as a consequence of not limiting greenhouse emissions, and not limiting the rise in global temperatures quickly. We are in a season of change – the equinox signals it, but the world too requires a season of change, a change that has been spoken out for loud and clear:

“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth – how dare you?”  but “The world is waking up ….. change is coming whether you like it or not”(Greta Thunberg**)

I pray these words be heard, I pray humanity will awake, I pray that change will come.

 

*The Cool of the day – Jean Ritchie 1971 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv46mxx0OS0
**UN Climate Action Conference 23rd September 2019 https://news.sky.com/story/greta-thunberg-warns-world-leaders-that-change-is-coming-11817903?fbclid=IwAR3JaoFqsS-FDjNbMHFWoJGhEAV4qBRSTiprfl9Vy9dTILjYi9eBPk8tavk