In Autumn 2019, no-one predicted how things would be a year later – covid, lockdowns, working from home, few people flying, etc. In the optimism surrounding COP26 in Autumn 2021, whilst few expected that the political rhetoric about targets for reduction in fossil fuel use would be matched by decisive and legally binding action, a complete abandonment of them wasn’t expected either. Back then, the idea that Russia would invade Ukraine within six months was not something that any of us expected, nor the consequences of that for fuel prices and the worldwide supply of staple foods.
Since 2019, six months is a very long time in terms of making plans for the future. On Friday we learned that the energy price cap for domestic gas and electricity is to rise by 80% in October and that will put keeping warm this winter out of reach of a large number of people in the fifth biggest economy in the world. Is that something that you would have believed just a couple of years ago, pre-brexit, pre-covid, pre-invasion?
So here we are at the Season of Creation again, with news items about burning more rather than less fossil fuels, a large number of the bathing beaches in the UK polluted with raw sewage, hosepipe bans in a number of areas but also flash-flooding and in much of Europe soaring summer temperatures. It’s the stuff of the Book of Revelation:
“And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake. … And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; and huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, dropped from heaven on people, until they cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague.”Revelation 16:18-21
If things can change so drastically over a short period of time, can we not hope for, pray for and work for positive change in our society, our country and our world. A society based on God’s values, where everyone no matter what their circumstances is of value and their identity is based on being beloved children of God, rather than a society based on world values, where what you have, what you do and what people say about you determine your identity.
During 2020 many people discovered that there was more to life than work as they worked from home. They learned to love family and friends more when they were unable to visit them. They helped their neighbours, who they hadn’t really got to know before and appreciated a cheery ‘hello’ from a stranger. We could base our positive new world on a more positive image from Revelation:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth … And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”Revelation 21:1a,5-7
“They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”Revelation 7:16-17