Is the message of Jesus relevant in 2019?
Philip Young believes that we can only resolve the crises currently facing our country and this planet if we turn back to the message of love that Jesus teaches us.
My mother will be 100 years old on December 22 which, as I write, is only three months away. As this lovely, wise and alert old lady looks at the news she cannot believe how the world around her is unravelling. She is not alone.
Politics in this country is in uncharted territory and worldwide there is much going on to make the lower jaw drop. Just when you think that events cannot get any crazier you are proved wrong again.
And then there is the Climate Emergency which all of us are witnessing before our very eyes. More violent and extreme weather events wherever you care to look and increasing evidence, as glaciers recede and temperatures soar, that Global Warming is here with us now and that urgent action is well overdue.
Where is God in all of this? Has our faith a part to play in facing this great unravelling? My mother has a strong Christian faith. Is the message of Jesus relevant at this point in our history of humankind on Planet Earth?
I believe it is relevant. I believe our political and climate crises are part of a greater spiritual crisis and that nothing can be solved without a transformation of the human being in the realm of the spirit. This process of transformation is now urgent. Unless we die to our selfish egoistic nature and become alive to our eco-spiritual connectedness then there is little hope of the rapid transformation needed to face the current spiritual, political and climate crises.
What is it about the message of Jesus that is particularly helpful and relevant to us as we face this mounting world crisis?
First of all, we need to acknowledge the mess that we are in and to own up to our part in it. This is the old message of repentance. As we look around, we realise that a lot of what is happening is due to our human greed and selfishness. Our generation is responsible for trashing the planet with rubbish and for over consumption of finite resources. We are now waking up to the damage done to our environment with extinction of species at an alarming rate and the danger of a complete breakdown of the eco-system and threat to our continuing existence. By trashing the planet, we are damaging spaceship Earth which is our life support system.
As we wake up to the amount of damage we have inflicted on the planet, we need to say that we are sorry and to commit ourselves to a complete transformation of how we live and how we treat each other and our living planet. The message of Jesus says that we can turn away from our past mistakes and find a new way.
What is this new way and why is it so relevant to our present crisis? This new way is none other than the way of death and resurrection. This is about radical transformation and radical change which is just what is needed to face the future with hope and radical action. We need human beings who are willing to die to selfishness and greed and to be transformed by the Spirit into human beings motivated by love and the greater good.
This is incredibly relevant to our politics. We need politicians who are willing to put service above self. When the next election comes, which may be quite soon, then don’t vote for those who are on an ego trip, but for those who seek to put service above self. With a little bit of probing it should not be difficult to find the best candidates.
The message of Jesus is that is that love is primary. To love God and to love your neighbour sums up all that is needful. To love the planet is to love our neighbours in the animals, plants and trees and in the whole eco-system which supports us and gives us life.
My mother will be 100 years old very soon. I shall be 100 in 2053. Those years leading up to 2053 may be the most important in terms of how we lived up to the challenge of loving and caring for this beautiful planet which God has given to us.
The image is courtesy of Mystic Art Design from Pixabay.com.
Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, and now lives in Felixstowe. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. In June 2017 he stood as an Independent Candidate for the General Election in the Suffolk Coastal Constituency. He is now Associate Priest at St. John and St. Edmund in Felixstowe and a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Philip is developing a new website www.revolutionoflovenow.com.
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