Advent 2015 – Devotion Five December 3, 2015

On May 25, 1961, in a special joint session of the Congress, President John F. Kennedy announced that the US would send an American safely to the moon before the end of the decade. And, on July 20, 1969, the goal was accomplished. It took 8 years. And the resources and personnel needed were dedicated to the task. This story is a reminder that we can do what we want to do.

International leaders are meeting in Paris to discuss climate change. The world waits with hope and anticipation for a dramatic outcome. An inspiring goal. A binding commitment of resources needed for fulfillment.

Global warming is not just an environmental issue. A “green” concern for tree huggers. It is a peace concern. Drought, lack of access to clean water, decreasing food supplies, lack of clean air, flooding, sea level rise, these consequences of global warming lead to social disruption, economic turmoil, and conflict. To pursue peace, we need to address climate change in bold ways.

Even if the Paris talks fall short, what’s to stop the US from creating its own dramatic, inspiring goals on climate change? We could commit to zero carbon emissions within a decade, like the goal of reaching the moon. Then we could help others to do the same. Oh, but that would take the government and politicians today seem to have more money than brains so not surprisingly, we don’t expect much from them.

But what do we expect from ourselves? In the absence of drastic action from visionary politicians a la Kennedy, our system of government is designed for people to take matters in hand and create the change they want to see happen. So, what are we doing?

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we remember that Jesus was not a top down leader. He had no aspirations to hold office or have a position of high status. He was not the head of a corporation, or a state, or a diocese. In the eyes of society, he was a nobody. And yet he managed to inspire other “nobodies” in a movement that continues to change the world today. Jesus empowered regular people to use their power for good in the world. How are we willing to use our power to create the drastic changes needed to slow global warming so that we as well as our neighbors near and far can thrive on this beautiful planet we have been given? We can’t expect a “President Kennedy” to do this for us.

Take a moment to think about a time when you used your power for good in the world. What did you do? What was the impact?

Prayer: In this season of giving gifts, we remember that we have been given the gift of power. And Jesus has been given to us to inspire us to use our power for good. May we honor Jesus by using our power to protect this precious Earth that we have been given as our home. Amen.

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