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Stay or go?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16.33

The new British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has impressed many with his start in office. The markets have stabilised, the pound has bounced back and he has restored seriousness and dignity to parliamentary debate. Yet two decisions threaten all that: his (re)appointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary and his decision not to attend the COP 27 Climate Talks in Egypt. There might be good reasons for both but the PM's failure to explain them smacks of personal arrogance and disdain towards the rest of us.

There is one good reason why he should not attend COP 27 and that is that these events are, themselves, enormous polluters of the environment. Consider all the air-miles, security and catering arrangements! Why not invest it all in staying at home and getting on with... addressing the issues which lead to climate change?

That might sound obvious but it relies on accepting that there is a problem and that it deserves our attention. Question Time on BBC1 last night revealed that the case for climate change cannot be taken for granted. Which brings us back to why many are willing to put up with the damage caused by COP talks - and all the other initiatives which raise the profile of climate change - because they force us to notice, even if some choose to ignore or deny the evidence.

Jesus warns us not to expect things to go smoothly, then proceeds to reassure us that he has overcome the world. What does this mean? That through the adequate sacrifice of his perfect death and his resurrection to eternal life, Jesus has broken the power of sin and death and laid the foundations for the renewal of creation. He will complete the process on his return to earth. In the meantime we - his followers - are not to despair but to prepare. How? By resisting evil and using every opportunity and all our gifts to live faithfully in the power of the Holy Spirit, while always being prepared to explain the reason for our hope.



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