- Jeremiah 1:4-10
- I Corinthians 13
- Luke 4:21-30
Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old girl, caught the attention of the world when she boldly shamed climate change negotiators at the recent UN Climate Summit at Poland by saying, “you are not mature enough.” In her speech, she said, “you say you love your children, but you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes… Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.” She has also called for a global school walk-out to speak to the adults about the climate crisis our planet is facing today.
Thunberg’s passion, courage and forthright talk on climate justice reminds us that prophets and prophecies come from the margins, like from children and teenagers. Those that have ears and hearts will listen to the call of prophets like Thunberg - and act on it. In the text from Jeremiah, God chooses a young boy who is not a seasoned speaker, touches him and anoints him as a prophet. Jeremiah’s call as a prophet is not to sing praises to the powers or to uphold the status quo of the politics of his day, but “to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
Thunberg perhaps is inviting us to be serious about our planet and act as there are only 12 years left, for after that it becomes impossible to achieve the global climate targets.
Paul, while mentioning love in I Corinthians 13, mentions that when I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child…and after becoming adult gave up all those child-like activities. Love is more personified in childhood, and Thunberg demonstrated that in her speech: her love for our planet and her courage are genuine. Adulthood brings more masks on people and a tendency either to compromise or to give up on the commitments for life. In Luke, Jesus in his first public ministry after reading the Scriptures at Nazareth spoke truth to power, which the religious authorities of his time did not like - they even planned to kill him.
We thank God for the mission of Christian Aid, which strengthens our resolve for climate change. It has been tirelessly working with many vulnerable people across the globe. Join with Christian Aid in addressing climate change and join in saving our planet and, by doing so, saving the future of our children. The prophet Jeremiah come alive in the voice of Thunberg and the call for climate justice today.
This Sunday calls us on a fourfold mission:
- Mission from the Margins
- Mission as Contestation
- Mission as Speaking Truth to the Powers
- Mission for Climate Justice.
God who is speaking to us from those on the margins, like the children, help us to listen to their voices and prophecies to save our planet.
Grant us the courage to contest all those oppressive forces and fill us with your Spirit to speak truth to the powers like your son Jesus Christ.
Points to pray for this week
Pray the call for climate justice will be heard and heeded by decision-makers across the world. Pray the Christian Aid climate change campaign will be effective.
6 February: Pray for the end of Female Genital Mutilation practices on this UN Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
Pray for the flourishing of lives and communities in Bolivia. You can find out more about our work in Bolivia here.
This week’s sermon pointers have been provided by the Rev Dr Raj Bharath Patta, an ordained Minister of the Andra Evangelical Lutheran Church in India, currently serving as an authorised Presbyter at the Stockport Methodist Circuit.