Going forward in hope and prayer
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 is far from 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 meaningful step – a potential turning point in the way we use resources and in our conversations on the solution to our ecological crisis.
It is, admittedly, only a first step. The ambitions of the agreement are strong – but there’s a gap between global ambitions and countries’ plans to fulfil them, between poor countries’ and poor people’s needs 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 God’s transforming power, 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 a first step and climbed that first hill. And may God lead our countries and all of us onto the long road which is a pathway to justice and peace.