I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. (Jeremiah 2:7)
This past week, the following statement was put forward by the United Nations:
We've only got a little over 10 years to stave off "unprecedented" changes in how we live on this planet before crossing the line — perhaps permanently — into disastrous levels of global warming. This dire warning comes from a new UN report. It says the planet will hit the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030. That could usher in an era of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. The report urges governments to act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
You might ask, “What has this to do with our faith?” God created our world, and called us to have responsibility for this world. “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’” (Gen. 1:26) How we treat the environment is of great importance to God, for God put us in charge of God’s creation.
We have abused this creation for so long that we are finally at the breaking point. I fear we are unwilling to make the rather demanding changes necessary to change our planet. God will be upset not only for the way we are damaging the Divine creation, but also for the way it will injure and even kill “hundreds of millions of people.” I ache when I think of the pain God experiences when the Creator contemplates the impending suffering.
Today, all faithful people should fall on our knees and pray for the creation God has placed under our care. Then, we need to continue our prayers for the animals - both wild and domestic - who will be destroyed by the changing environmental conditions. Finally, we ask God to help us find the courage and humility necessary to make the changes before the door on our long-term future closes on humanity. Our prayers today should start with confession, apologizing for our part in damaging God’s creation. Then, the prayer of intercession for those who will be hurt by the changes. Then, ask God to intercede on our behalf, by offering prayers of adoration, for the way God loves and forgives us. Amidst our arrogance and ignorance, God’s intervention may be our only remaining hope. Praise God!