‘System Change not Climate Change!’ was one of the chants by Christian Climate Action I heard last year. Another – ‘Power to the People, People got the power. Tell me can you hear it, getting stronger by the hour!’ We moved together, hundreds of Christians and joined by people of all faiths including Muslims, Jews and Buddhists. We prayed as we laydown on the earth which was also a road, and we sang, danced, sat in meditative silence, held prayer flags from all around the UK. We were trying to call attention to climate crisis prayerfully, playfully and creatively. We were involved in acts of holy resistance which some may call non-violent obedience to Jesus Christ or non-violent direct action. I wonder what you believe, feel, and think about the place of Christian activism and non-direct action? Is it a core part or peripheral part of how you express your Christian faith in the God of creation? Would you encourage or discourage peaceful direct action in your church and community – why? I am always curious in learning about faith from people!
We are living in a climate crisis. A crisis is always an opportunity and invitation for Christians. Can Hope be seen or grown here? Can the rebel Jesus show us The Way even in climate breakdown? Can the person and presence of the Holy Spirit enables us to consider becoming bolder in our earth-protection and our speaking truth to power?
When I learned to dive in far-flung Tonga, in the Pacific Islands, whilst also studying contextual theology at Pacific Theological College in Fiji I was certainly privileged. I was funded to study, to learn, and as I saw the beauty of Oceania underwater worlds opened up new vistas. I was captivated by wonder, colour and delight as the Maker of All showed me this earth we share and how precious an ecosystem is. Some months later I heard a colleague share how their homeland, also an island nation, similar to ours, was beginning to flood and the waters were rising up. Will we rise up in creative and prayerful holy resistance as ordinary mainstream people of Jesus? Will we do more than write letters and speak to our MP and call all people around us to put pressure on Barclays Bank, will we divest our professional pension funds as well as church funds from fossil fuels and will we, when there is a struggle of ideologies, lay down our lives in roads, fields, and floodplains for our sisters and brothers near and far so that they can hopefully Live?
Rebel Jesus, call us again to holiness and hope this Lent.
Rebel Jesus, let’s be honest about how we live and what is hard to give up.
Rebel Jesus, fill us with your boldness and urgency to do prayerful table-turning and fun direct action this Lent and this year.
Rebel Jesus, help us connect locally with others for the common good; life for all creation and not just the few.
Rebel Jesus, holy man, shake us and wake us up – we are needed in this movement, you have called us for such a time as this.
May we rise up, for the sake of all our children and grandchildren.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
This reflection was written by Kate Gray. Kate is a minister of The Dandelion Community- The United Reformed Church in Wythenshawe, Manchester. It’s a place full of resilient people living with challenge and change. She is keen on making indoor and outdoor church connect with a wide variety of people. The congregation includes mostly women over 70 years who are peacemakers and peace praying. Wythenshawe is Gods Garden City in Manchester and full of green spaces. She is NWSynod Green Apostle.