Our world is layered in climate-related calamities, looming ecological collapse, and political chaos, with a pandemic amplifying it all. I cannot help but grieve with a deep sense of helplessness. We, as Christians, can certainly hold on to the hope that the resurrected Christ will heal and restore. We could cry to the Lord for relief and rescue while lending a hand to the hurting. But I’m still overwhelmed, asking myself: What else could I be in this madness?
A biblical scene came into my attention. Although I’ve preached on it many times, it has slipped out of my mind lately. For almost a week, my home region of Vancouver, Canada was covered by the thick smoke from wildfires rampaging south of the border. This has left me feeling distracted by the haze of despair, both metaphorically and physically.
John 20:21-23 depicts the resurrected Jesus in front of his fearful bunch of disciples. He greeted them with “shalom” and performed an obscure act by breathing on them saying, “receive the Holy Spirit”. Essentially, Jesus told them: “I am sending you all now in the similar fashion as God the Father has sent me”. This echoes the beginning of the book of John, where the glorious presence of the Son is sent to dwell among us. Jesus’ followers are sent to be his presence in the world with grace and truth.
Where would such grace-and-truth-filled presence be in our world today?
I imagine these presences would be in climate marches, on pulpits or in classrooms teaching old and young, in local community gardens advocating for food security and climate resilience, on campaign trails for climate-conscious politicians, in corporate boardrooms discerning decarbonized financing, in engineering labs testing new energy saving technology, restoring wetlands… what do you think?
– Samuel Chiu
Again, Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
— John 20:21-22
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
— John 1:14
Help us to be your presence, full of grace and truth, in this world of calamities and sufferings. Help us to discern where that presence should be. Grant us the strength and courage to embrace these possibilities. Be with us when we go alone. Guide us to like-minded communities from where your presence could be manifested together. Encourage us when we are discouraged or disheartened. Speak to us or through us when you see appropriate. Lord be with us, so that we can be your presence in your world.
(This is a devotional piece written for Climate Caretaker, 2020.10.27)