URC Daily Devotion Monday November 8, 2021

Monday November 8, 2021
The Twelve Days of COPmas: Day 8 – The gift of the testimony of a suffering creature

Job 12:1-10 (NRSV, with some amendments from the author)

Then Job answered:
‘No doubt you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you.
But I have understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know such things as these?
I am a laughing-stock to my friends;
I, who called upon God and God answered me,
just and blameless, I am a laughing-stock.
Those at ease have contempt for misfortune,
but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable.
The tents of robbers are at peace,
and those who provoke God feel secure,
though all they have is from God.

‘But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
Speak to the Earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In whose hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.’

‘The War of Wisdom’

When every last ‘climate denier’ is laughed out of court – or exposed as a lackey of fossil fuel interests – there remains the War of Wisdom…

…in which we resist the painful empathy of the flesh (AKA DNA) we share. The war of “We Know Better because we’re doing better than you are!”

…where aggressors sincerely believe they are wise, compassionate, cautious, prudent… Trouble is, perhaps they are! But still, they’ve got it wrong.

Opening skirmishes were the arguments within so many churches taking so embarrassingly long to be stung by Jesus’ words:

 ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’…

…so long… to switch support from greenwashed corporations. From monsters, still content to factor into profit, the ravaging of ‘our common home’ into somewhere far less capable of healing.

“The tents of robbers are at peace,
and those who provoke God feel secure”.

Only when we acknowledge rights that go with the sentient dignity of the planet, and “all who dwell on Earth” (forget that deadly reservation “all people”) is such robbery going to cause outrage, as it did those unfortunate humans whose homes were declared void and available by European pioneers, armed with guns, planting flags rather than trees.

This is a war where those of us who prefer our superior stewardship of ‘things’ to a vulnerable, consultative partnership with fellow creatures, do so for the ‘best of reasons’.

Genteel, we fight, authenticated by the incremental approach that for so long looked so unassailably wise. For “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”.

(Whoever thought up that one never read up about angels!)

Not that suffering automatically makes you right. But what of the voice of blood that cries from soil? What of shouting stones shaming silent saints? [Luke 19:40]

Science translates the ‘babble’ of the environmental crisis into the prophetic voice we hear.

And understanding, act.

Before twelve days are out.

Or perish.

It IS as bad as that.

Parent of Soil and Sky,
free us from stubborn arrogance, and all it brings,
that we enable change for fellow creatures.
Save us in the midst of what our kind has brought about;
deliver Life from evil.
For the fragile seasons, cycles, and the power of Life are yours.
God help us!
Let it be so!

Today’s writer

The Rev’d David Coleman is Environmental Chaplain with Eco-Congregation Scotland (a URC Special Category Ministry). He works ecumenically across Scotland to challenge and encourage 500+ Christian churches, colleges, and more in the recognition of environmental action as mainstream Christian witness.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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