Ominous warnings

I have just read an account of the build up to the rebellion in Ireland against the British in 1798. We now know what happened. It failed. It was a disaster. But....

the description of the state of mind of one of the leaders, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the tension he felt before it collapsed and while the outcome was uncertain, led me to feel what it is like waiting for the unknown: will there be disaster or will we get through this somehow?

Today we face disaster – or maybe we will avoid it. I am thinking now of a recent report about the Thulagi glacier lake in Nepal. It is one of 20 steadily growing lakes high up in the mountains whose banks are simply ice and earth. With steadily increasing temperatures (Nepal has twice the global average) the lakes are growing and walls that hold them are thinning. If (when?) the walls give way nothing will stop billions of litres of water bursting through this natural dam and devastated villages, farmland and everything below.

At stake are the lives of almost a quarter of the worlds population who rely on the Himalayas (the mountains of northern India and Nepal) for water. This report appeared in the Guardian Weekly just before the Copenhagen summit on climate change in December, but the meeting failed to respond to the crisis adequately.

And if one goes to the bible there are countless warnings in both the old and the new testaments but virtually always people take no notice and end up in disaster. One exception is in Acts (2: 40-41) where we are told Peter spoke to them for a long time using many arguments. He urged them, save yourselves from this perverse generation. They were convinced by his arguments and they accepted what he said.

The anticipation of disaster forces us to look at our attitudes and see if we can find the courage to act so as to avoid what is otherwise certainly coming. Yet despite the certainty of disaster and history has taught us time and time again of this we still want to just carry on as normal. We are not prepared to face the consequences of change. And so we are heading for disaster. This is true from history, from the scriptures.

It is true about climate change and it is true about our politics. It is also true in our personal lives. For those of us who keep the season of Lent it is a time set aside where we ask ourselves questions: am I avoiding something? Am I facing up to what I am called to do now? Or am I just cruising along hoping for the best that everything will just stay OK?

Post published in: Opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *