COP26 – What next?
By Andrew Norman, our Co-Chaplain
COP26 – What next? That’s what we asked ourselves in our Green Christian evening on December 1st. A few of us were invited briefly to state our personal responses. I said that one of my responses was now wanting to engage with what the UK government is doing, both in continuing with its COP presidency year, and in initiating definite actions at home to cut emissions and create a more climate resilient country. Are we not seeing a growing number of people in the UK realising the existential threat of the climate crisis? But we now need smart political engagement which makes the climate emergency a mainstream concern. Personally, and in practice, I will be lobbying my own MP, following Alok Sharma on Facebook, reading carefully the Climate Change Committee’s reports to Parliament – and then continuing to look for all the ways that as a citizen I can engage in the political process.
But the other personal response I shared that evening was in believing as a Christian that a sense of urgency about the climate is what God now wants of us. Because I often feel that this does not connect very securely with our faith. Too often it feels insecure, “we must just have hope”, or even avoidant, “maybe this is how God is bringing the world to an end and we should be welcoming the End Times?” I suggested that my chaplain’s blog might be one way I could start to provoke some thinking.
So I start today with some wonderful words from the eighteenth century Anglican priest and spiritual writer, William Law, in The Spirit of Love:
Nothing wills or works with God but the spirit of love, because nothing else works in God himself. The almighty brought forth all nature for this end only, that boundless love might have its infinity of height and depth to dwell and work in, and all the striving and working properties of nature are only to give essence and substance, life and strength, to the invisible hidden spirit of love, that it may come forth into outward activity and manifest its blessed powers, that creatures born in the strength, and out of the powers of nature, might communicate the spirit of life and goodness, give and receive mutual delight and joy to and from one another.
William Law went on to say that “All the design of Christian redemption is to remove everything that is … disordered from every part of this fallen world.” – everything, and that very much connects with the Biblical vision in Genesis of the goodness of God’s creation. So in my next post shall return to Matthew Fox’s seminal work Original Blessing and hope to help renew our sense of that vision.