Bringing a full response to climate change
In the face of climate concerns, we can actively participate as healers – praying to find practical solutions that have their basis in unchanging God, good.
The Northern Hemisphere is finishing another summer of extremes. Commenting on a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that we’re “firmly on track toward an unlivable world.” But I’ve found that the strengthening action of God moves us toward a full and productive response to environmental concerns.
There’s a powerful example in the Bible. The book of Acts gives an account of St. Paul and others on a ship out at sea, when they were caught in a storm. It says: “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away” (Acts 27:20).
But despite the dire circumstances, Paul said, “I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee” (Acts 27:22-24). They survived the storm, and Paul continued his work of preaching Christianity, with the same divine help and inspiration that had protected them.
Paul’s story is about engaging with God, Spirit. Turning to God, we become more conscious of our true nature as spiritual expressions of His love, intelligence, and strength. In the face of climate troubles, we can be bigger witnesses for what God, divine Love, brings out in us – the strength that overcomes fears and feelings of limitation and vulnerability.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, spent a lifetime actively engaging with God and witnessing what divine Love brings forward in terms of transformation and healing. One time, after a period of no rain, a farmer near her was unable to provide for his livestock, since his well had gone dry. Upon hearing this, she exclaimed, “Oh! if he only knew, Love fills that well.” The next day, the farmer found that new waters had filled up the well, despite no additional rains. (See Yvonne Caché von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, “Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer,” Amplified Edition, p. 177.)
This is certainly a powerful example of the infinite possibilities of divine Love. But it doesn’t suggest that our help for the environment is left to someone else’s prayer. It’s about us all participating with the world as healers. Prayer-based living accomplishes good things.
One especially warm evening recently, when I was on a run, my legs began to ache, my breathing became heavy, and the heat felt stifling. Overwhelmed by the situation, I walked home. I prayed – not specifically about the heat and its seeming effect on me, but to acknowledge the all-encompassing power of God. I prayed to see that our purpose is to help bring to light more of God’s goodness and love, which are reflected in His entire creation.
With more clarity on how to actively participate as a healer, I soon felt reenergized, and the heat became a nonissue. I was able to go for a long run a couple of days later, even though it was an evening just as warm.
This is just one example of how prayer-based living has brought inspiration and healing. But even modest experiences are proof that when faced with larger issues, such as climate change, prayer leads to real solutions. In fact, through prayer, I’ve been inspired to find ways to live that are easier on the planet, such as collecting winter rains for use in the summer. I’m identifying less as a consumer and more as a healer, finding unstoppable good to do.
We run forward in life with clarity when we actively bear witness to God, good, in every situation. We find that our atmosphere is a function of the thought we’re bringing to it. So, as we strive to more fully express divinely inspired love, our bodies and lives are strengthened, situations are healed, better uses of resources become evident.
Mrs. Eddy said, “Divine Love is our hope, strength, and shield. We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 113). Our response to reports of climate doom can be full of love rather than despair, and courage to see more of God’s goodness and care in our lives and the universe.