The visual presentations at COP26 have been, for those willing to remove their blinkers, a stark, shocking revelation of destructive actions which threaten the survival of people and planet. Forests denuded, irreplaceable 500 year old trees felled in minutes, land stripped barren, coastal villages abandoned and livelihoods lost, river beds parched, cities smothered in smog, people starving, ice caps crumbling, oceans blanketed in plastic waste, – a heart scorching footage of human, animal and ecological suffering. The earth shudders at the suicidal actions of the human race. In Glasgow we have a microcosm of a sick world struggling to survive.
Everything that is subject to this current devastating threat came into existence and has been sustained by the power and wisdom of God. It is folly to think God is absent, sitting at some distance watching the wanton carnage and destruction of his beautiful creation – withholding his omnipotence in an attitude of utter disregard and callous indifference. God’s omnipotence is compliant with and subject to his nature – and his nature is love. The extent to which his love will go is displayed at Golgotha. We nailed him down and his word was “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” – an appropriate caption for the COP26 visuals! Glasgow having been described as ‘the epicenter of global hypocrisy’.
For the full realization of what God intended his creation to be the mystic, Meister Eckhart said, ‘We need God. God needs us’. The care of the earth was entrusted to us. At COP26 the vocal protests and demonstrations of the young radicals with eco anxiety, the dynamics of discussion, the imaginative thinking of individual inventors, the solutions proposed by concerned conservationists may well be the creative, generative action of God’s Spirit in the human heart and mind. Intelligence, emotion and will, each motivated by God’s creative love is the way God’s omnipotence will rise sovereign over the schemes designed by the power hungry self-centered ego.
We think of power in terms of dominance, force, the imposition of one over the other, suppression and aggression, none of which is reconcilable with the revelation of God’s nature in Jesus. The strength of God’s power was displayed in Jesu’s vulnerability and seeming weakness before the might of the state and religious authorities. Jesus chose truth, justice, mercy, compassion, service, goodness relying on the power of love to win their hearts.
There is much suffering today. Life for many is a continuous struggle. The human body is not immune to disease and decay. The Covid pandemic has stressed many, both victim and nurse, to breaking point and cast many homes and families into darkness and despair. Unemployment paralyzes the latent potential in young people, driving many to addiction or crime. There seems no end to human trafficking, domestic violence, or disrespect for human dignity and life. When subjected to this continuous apparently uncontrollable attack on our health, well-being and peace we may begin to wonder, where is God? Why doesn’t God do something to bring it all to an end?
God is not isolated from, or clinically immune to our suffering. The event at Golgotha is a ‘sliced moment’ of what God is continuously doing to save us and make us whole. He sees our suffering with anguish and love. No matter where we go he walks with us. No matter what we do he accepts us. No matter how much we grieve him he forgives us. His love has a dual function, it brings him to us and draws us to him. No matter what happens to us he remains. God in his compassion suffers alongside of us, with us, and willingly gives of himself – his truth, wisdom and live for our sake. Jesus said God cared for the sparrow – so how much more for us, but he can only work within the constraints of his nature. His law is love, never coercion, or suppression. We desperately need his help, but he needs and desires our willing co-operation to restore earth’s fertile beauty and create a healthy environment for all to share and enjoy.
We are presently involved in a desperate attempt to survive. Scientific progress has pushed us into the ‘labour ward’ containing non-stop technology, artificial intelligence, space exploration, instant communication, computerized industry, social revolution, and rampant consumerism. In our struggle for recovery we need a renewed relationship of co-operation with God and all creation. God hasn’t given up on us. God is still active in the universe. As our Creator God is ready to deliver us. Our cry for deliverance could be the birth-pangs of a new evolutionary age of discovery and benefit for everyone.