D0wn to earth with a thud
The festivities are over, and we return to the reality of a New Year with a thud. Only days into the New Year, we are precipitously plunged into even deeper international turmoil and uncertainty. I believe, like our earlier invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the assassination of Qassem Soleimani will leave none of us unscathed. However, I will leave you to follow unfolding events through your own preferred channels for information and opinion-forming.
I am sure that our hearts and minds have gone out to our Australian brothers and sisters as they seek to contend with the unimaginable conflagration of their world-destroying lives and livelihoods. The Australian Federal Government ranks alongside the Trump Administration and Bolsonaro’s Brazil and chief among international climate change deniers. Now it struggles to respond to events of truly apocalyptic proportions as a land area of 12 million acres, approximately the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, burns out of control. The smoke from the blazes in the southwest of the country is visible from space, and it is spreading so far that it is causing haze in New Zealand more than a thousand miles away. Our attention is saturated with news of global scale climate events with uncontrollable fires in Australia and rising death toll from floods in Jakarta. We might note that so serious is the ecological and climate challenge to cities like Jakarta that the Indonesian Government is now planning to abandon Jakarta as the nation’s capital in favor of building a new capital on the neighboring island of Borneo.
Christian hope is not a reflection of an optimistic outlook. Optimism is simply a mood buoyed by the reading of fortuitous developments emerging around us. Signs of optimism can change in the twinkling of an eye to be replaced with pessimism which is an experience without hope. Hope is what we cling to in the face of no evidence for optimism. For as the writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us, hope is faith in things as yet unseen. This is why we now must redouble our action of hoping for the better future than the present we currently experience.
Psychologically speaking, hope is not fueled by optimism but by the experience of loss. Loss and suffering provide the energy for hope as with determination we recommit ourselves to turning political, social, and ecological challenges to stability into opportunities for radical change. This is a task we all need to commit to. There’s no room for passengers any longer on our journey of realizing a new future for ourselves and our children.
Closer to home the old story of food insecurity in our city continues. It’s striking that the worst time for the food banks follows a period of almost obscene food consumption by the rest of us over the holiday period.
Better Lives RI
has issued an urgent appeal for us to help them to replenish their dangerously low food bank supplies. So, let’s step up and be the change we long to see and please donate non-perishable food items. You can donate directly to
Better Lives RI
or through our food baskets positioned at the back of the church.