by Dick Gibson
On Election Day voters in Washington State failed to pass an initiative that would have added a fee to carbon producers and would have begun reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and carbon emissions.
It was an election issue loaded with fear and misinformation. Polluters were let off the hook; gasoline, heating fuel and electricity would cost everyone more. The $31 million that oil companies poured into advertising made a louder noise than did supporters of the initiative, whose campaign sought to explain the urgent need for a fossil-free future that begins now.
When we turn our attention toward Advent, we might find ourselves in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, where we meet Mary. Mary is caught in a quandary. Her world has been turned upside down. She has been asked to be the mother of God’s child, but she isn’t sure. She’s downright scared.
Do not be afraid, God reassures her. What you are doing will be for the good for all people.
What should we expect this Advent Season? We hope for a Savior, a new reign, the coming of God among us. But, like Mary, we are not so sure. We struggle each day, not just on Election Day, with our economy and politics. Our nation seems headed in the wrong direction under an administration that rejects science in favor of whatever appears to be the most lucrative deal for the people in power. We face opponents like those in Washington State, whose money speaks louder than our actions on the side of justice and peace. We fear that God may not be at work in our daily lives.
Yet the season of joy is upon us. There in the book of Luke, Mary sings a song of hope that awakens our spirits. God scatters the proud. God puts down the mighty from their corporations and towers. God lifts up those of humble origins. God fills the hungry with good things and sends away the elite 1%, empty handed.
Mary’s story is a radical Gospel call. Yes, we are afraid, but in spite of our fears, climate change will continue. Our worlds will be turned upside down – either through our careful planning or through disastrous climate events like floods in Vietnam and Kuwait and fires in California.
Advent is a time of preparation for new things coming. It’s a time to acknowledge our fears and to set them aside in favor of joy, hope, peace, and love.
Over the coming weeks Fossil Free PCUSA is sharing a series of reflections on Advent and climate change, with a new blog post out each Monday.
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