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No Clean Lips with Dirty Hands

Connecting with Culture

Clean Lips
Rachie Ross

I’m genuinely baffled; when did we lose our God-given instinct to protect our young?

I agree with Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being – animals weren’t expelled from the garden, they haven’t lost their ‘eden-ness’. Hang around any seagull colony in breeding season – birds bomb and screech, the parents and community protect the next generation.

But not us, despite the brooding storm that’s been gathering for over 50 years. We are obsessed with daily danger yet fail to consider the future that’s coming home to roost for our young. The latest IPCC report comes with a health warning: read before bed and expect nightmares; fail to make deep and painful change and the nightmares come true.

Look out the window, pay attention to the groans of the garden.

We’re entrusted to take care of the land that feeds and holds us, to which we all return. Yet we find ourselves ‘guilty as hell’. Four billion years of life on earth, yet in the past 100 we’ve pushed it to the brink. The way we’re behaving, our depleted soils have less than 60 harvests left, and we’ve successfully wiped out over 90% of the large fish. We foul our air and soil our home. We’ve lost our way, we’ve lost our love for the gift-giver, keeping our lips tightly sealed over burning fossil fuels, deforestation, land grabbing, injustice.

No clean lips with dirty hands (Psalm 24:3–4): no false repentance on our lips when we have ecocide on our hands.

COP26 – the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference – is our last chance to avoid runaway climate breakdown. These leaders aren’t the first to hear the truth about the climate (it’s been known about since the late 1800s) but they’re the last to be able to bring about the deep change needed to head off the worst impacts of environmental collapse.

We had a crucial job: to take care of the garden. And therein lies the problem – it seems we didn’t and don’t care enough to stop treating the earth as ‘a huge warehouse of stuff’.

For the love of God and the next generations, will we rise up and remind ourselves who we are, and what we need to do? Engage, rage, and pray. Speak up, stand out, and get God’s house – the church – in order. We must call out governments, and place enormous collective pressure.

‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do.’ But sadly, we do. We have no defense. Lord have mercy.


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