It's true, climate change is frightening. Perhaps it has never happened before that humans have had to face the possibility of our species' extinction so directly. We cannot save ourselves by our own effort, we are not in control of much at all, no matter how clever or hardworking we are. We are tied together on this planet with millions of people who haven't yet faced the scientific evidence and who aren't ready give up their material greed and their hard hearts against those who are 'not like them'. No matter how hard we work, we can't make there be a future for the next generation on our own.
We are not on our own, we are answering the call of God. God invites us to participate in the divine revolution, to give up our comforts and be part of God's unfolding peace and justice. Even if our species has passed the turning point, heading for extinction very soon, having poisoned and destroyed the earth's beautiful systems that sustained us, we as Friends can live in faith and witness to our knowledge of God's love. It may be that God will save us all, teach enouhg of us how to repent and change that we will survive. Whichever way the future unfolds, what is required of us is to be faithful to the truth God shows us.
God makes us live differently, because we know we are one with the helpless, the poor, and the oppressed who have no-one but God. When we love God and live for God, God can live in us, so we come to embody God's solutions to the hurts of the world. We have each other when we have God. God's grace is enough for us to live on, as we are weaned off our addictions to worldly things.
In scripture God tells us repeatedly not to be afraid. It is terrifying to face up to the destruction and death of everything we love, to know that it is ignorance and greed that perpetuate this evil, systems of power and domination that seem impervious to our protests. Those fears, entrusted to God, can turn inside out to tell us how much we love what is good and lovely about this precious world of God's, to power us in living through faith. We can feel grief for what has not been saved, and we can use the energy of our grief as well, to move deeper into God's hands. God can move more deeply into our lives, and power us to do God's healing and restoring work, making us a countersign against the lies and greed and hatred in the worldy culture, living letters about the power of God's love for the world. We can encourage each other to let go of what we don't need, to give up material greed and excess and learn how God wants us to live, in solidarity with the poorest, witnessing to God's liberating love for each creature and the power of God's way to make justice come alive in us.
God tells us not to be afraid. We can take hold of God's promises and live in the grace that God is unfolding in, around, and amongst us. God is the rock we can cling to. God is opening the path before us. God shapes in us the truth that illuminates, the way to live differently, reliant on the goodness of God and not on the worldy 'wisdom' of economic growth, inequality and war.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When I get really afraid
I come to you in trust.
I'm proud to praise God;
fearless now, I trust in God.
Psalm 118: 6-7
Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God's now at my side and I'm not afraid;
who would dare lay a hand on me?
... Telling you, 'You're my servant, serving on my side.
I've picked you. I haven't dropped you.'
Don't panic. I'm with you.
There's no need to fear for I'm your God.
I'll give you strength. I'll help you.
I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
That's right. Because I, your God,
have a firm grip on you and I'm not letting go.
I'm telling you, 'Don't panic.
I'm right here to help you.
Don't be afraid—you're not going to be embarrassed.
Don't hold back—you're not going to come up short.
"Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now. Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands."
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba!* Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God ...
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote,
"God is there, ready to help;
I'm fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?" (= Psalm 118 above)
1 Peter 3:13-14
If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick.
1 John 4:17-18
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.