‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.’
The climate is changing. It is neither a distant nor a vague threat; climate change is here, now, and even as you read these words it is wreaking havoc on people’s lives throughout the world.
But those people are not helpless, because they have you and me. We – the church, together – have an opportunity to speak up on their behalf, imploring our leaders to take action against climate change.
Here are five reasons why this is something we simply can’t ignore:
1. Because Sylvia and Daacad are on the brink
The great injustice of climate change is that, while it largely caused by rich nations, it is those living in developing countries who are bearing the brunt of the impact.
For people like Sylvia in Malawi and Daacad in Somaliland, this means successive years of failed harvests and hunger. They are relying on us to bring their plight out of the shadows and onto the world stage.
2. Because a new MP means a new opportunity
The election may be over (for now!), but the real work is just beginning. We can help set the agenda for our newly elected MPs, ensuring that climate change and poverty are top priorities for them.
The Speak Up Week of Action, taking place right now, is calling on people around the UK to meet their MPs and make their voices heard. It’s never too late to get involved: you can find out more about Speak Up and the actions you can take here.
3. Because the opposition is loud
It’s a spiritual truth that the more we press into God’s kingdom, the greater the opposition will become. Amazing progress has been made in recent years, notably the paradigm-shifting Paris Agreement, signed by 196 countries in December 2015.
However, since then President Trump has sadly pulled the US – a key player – out of the agreement. This was a significant setback, but not an insurmountable one – not if we keep on speaking up and taking action.
4. Because we need to shine
Why are we here? Jesus gives us an answer: ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:14-15).
We are here to be light, and we cannot stay hidden. We need to shine our light – sharing God’s love with the world. A clear way we can live out this love is to help those affected by climate change.
5. Because we are stewards
‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ (Genesis 2:15). The Hebrew word translated here as ‘work’ is abad, meaning to serve, and the word for ‘take care of’ is shamar, which can also mean to guard and to protect.
We have a God-given mandate to serve, guard and protect His creation. God has given us a precious gift – a majestic, wonderful, yet fragile world. We must do all that we can to look after it.
Speaking up in prayer
You are never too small to make a difference. There is great power in unity; if we speak up together with one voice, then we will truly be able to defend the rights of the poor and needy. Let us pray.
Almighty God –
Lord of all creation,
Thank you that we are blessed to live in a democracy.
Thank you for our Members of Parliament
and for all those in positions of influence in our country;
we ask that you fill them with wisdom,
that their eyes might be opened to injustice
and their hearts filled with compassion
for those who are suffering the effects of climate change.
Thank you God for the gift of this planet;
please help us – as individuals and as the Church –
to do what we can to serve, guard and protect this world.
Help us to speak up for those who cannot,
to shine our lights boldly
and to be good stewards of Your creation.
In Jesus’ name,
For more info on Speak Up and our other campaigns please visit Tearfund Action.