Was it just a coincidence that Cop26 overlapped with Armistice Day? Isn’t that what we need – a big global armistice? Our desire to be masters of the universe has caused a great disconnect between us and our Creator God, between humans, and also between us and planet Earth – even between Earth and itself.
Perhaps in Glasgow we witnessed a mini armistice as countries came together and reluctantly made compromises to agree terms for the health of our planet. Many are disappointed by the tepid text which they interpret as too little too late, while others are cynical as to when, how and if pledges will actually be implemented. The fact that 197 countries agreed to anything at all seems quite a feat in itself and is in the right direction.
The Just Judge
There was a big emphasis at Cop26 on justice. The relationship between the rich and poor nations is challenging us deeply; it’s clear that the countries suffering most because of global warming are contributing least to the problem. And before we point the finger at the big carbon emitters like China and India, and their reluctance to phase out coal, we have to acknowledge much of it is fuelling Western consumerism. The climate crisis is bringing us face to face with human greed and selfishness. So, if we want true justice we need an impartial judge who knows the end from the beginning, and can read the secrets of our hearts (Romans 2:11-16).
The Caring Creator
How should the church respond? Christians have not shone in the area of creation care or environmental concern and we need to repent. Loving Christ should involve love for all he has made; we have a God given mandate to steward the natural world. While the pundits remove God as Creator from the start of the story with several delegates referring to ‘Mother Nature’ and God as Judge from the end of the story, he still faithfully sustains the universe and our commission to care for Planet Earth stands firm. Our responsibility as those who acknowledge God and are called by his name is huge,
‘If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).’
The Big Armistice Day
The earth groans and we groan with it (Romans 8:22-23). Together we have been subjected to the death and decay of unredeemed bodies. Even those with no knowledge or interest in Scripture are aware this world is running down. It’s always been hard to talk about ‘end times’ without sounding like a sandwich board donning nutter, but perhaps as people face the environmental consequences of human sin, despair could turn to hope.
Jesus, through whom and for whom all things were created, and who has the authority to judge all peoples on earth, is also Saviour of the world. He signed the armistice treaty between God and man on the Cross with his own blood so that his sacrifice might reconcile all things to himself and usher in a New Creation (Colossians 1:19-20). When Jesus comes again our bodies will be made new in the resurrection, and this old earth will be made new too.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness (Psalm 96: 12-13).