A friend of mine recently posted this video on facebook. It’s worth watching. But I’ll warn you–it’s bleak.
Just because it’s rather depressing doesn’t mean we shouldn’t watch it. It’s important to be aware of the state of the world. It doesn’t do us any good to bury our heads in the sand.
But Where Do We Go From Here?
As Christians, we’re beginning the season of Advent. It’s a season where we remember the waiting of God’s people, waiting for those promises that came to fulfillment in Jesus.
When we light that first candle on our Advent wreaths this week, we’re waiting with HOPE.
However, keeping in mind the above video, where do we see hope?
Truth Through the Darkness
As a Christian, I’m not one to speculate on the Last Days, nor am I prone to announce the imminent end of the world. People have been sure that the world has been about to end for thousands of years now.
However, after watching various documentaries, and reading articles about ecosystems, it does appear that we’re running out of time. Or space. Or, as my husband puts it, “there’s just too many of us on this planet.”
All this is probably too true. After thousands of years of thinking that the end is going to come (and yet it doesn’t), maybe we’re finally getting there.
I can’t lie–that thought fills me with panic.
And yet, as a Christian, I do have some hope amidst that appalling scenario.
“For you [God] have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress . . .
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines, Juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, The web that is woven over all nations.
He will destroy death forever.
The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.
-Isaiah 25: 4, 6-8
Whatever may come, I have a deep belief that there is something more, something beyond this world.
Whether it’s a new world, or a perfection of this one, it will be the work of God.
It will be good.
God promises that this isn’t the end.
How to Explain that Without Being Callous?
However, not everyone has that hope.
Is it possible to explain the hope that I have without sounding like my faith is merely based on pie-in-the-sky?
While I try to live as lightly on the land as possible, I still live in North America, where we are a huge reason for the current state of the world’s ecological ills. Living lightly on the land is easier said than done. Most of us aren’t even aware of the impact of our daily choices. (I’m not pointing fingers here–I’m very included in “most of us”.)
In fact, the chapter right before that reading in Isaiah gave me chills, as I was thinking on this very topic:
“The earth shall be utterly laid waste, utterly stripped . . .
The world languishes and fades; both heaven and earth languish.
The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants, for they have transgressed laws, violated statues, broken the ancient covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants pay for their guilt.”
Yes, we’ve been systematically destroying the earth for centuries. Sure, as one person, there are things I can do to lessen my impact. But, in other areas, my small actions as one individual make me feel powerless to change this tide of destruction.
This season we’re living liturgically is in direct contrast to the reality that we’re being faced with.
Then again, perhaps that is always how things have been.
This season of Advent is a statement of faith in direct contrast to the state of the world.
In observing Advent, and being hopeful in the face of hopelessness, we’re daring to believe that there is something more. This isn’t all there is.
God is bigger.
He has a plan.
And even through we can’t see it, we can’t understand it, we do trust that whatever end may come isn’t the end.
In the midst of real, and understandable hopelessness, how do we explain the hope we have without sounding naïve, callous, or thoughtless?
I don’t have any great answers.
(If anyone else does, please comment!)
We need to do what we can to work for justice.
We need to leave our corner of this world a better place than we found it.
Just because we have the hope of something better, doesn’t mean that we can throw in the towel and give up on this earth and this society. Perhaps the coming Kingdom of God will come about gradually (like Jesus said about the yeast and mustard seed) by earnest people doing the little they can to make this world a better place.
By never giving up on trying to make the world a better place, we continue to cling to that hope we have.