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  • Brian Phillips

A Lament for the Earth


Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me…

Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen oracles for you that are false and misleading.

Greta Thunberg: People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

Lamentations: When all the prisoners of the land are crushed under foot, when human rights are perverted in the presence of the Most High, when one’s case is subverted —does the Lord not see it? Why should any who draw breath complain about the punishment of their sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven.

Greta Thunberg: For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

Lamentations: For the Lord will not reject for ever. Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

Greta Thunberg: You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

Prayer: God of all creation, the wonder and colour, the mystery and order remind us that it is your love that gives life and sustains all that we see around us. And yet – again and again, we forget. We ignore and mock those who warn us of deceit and false hope.

Open our eyes to see that which is real and protect us from the distractions of the ephemeral. Open our hearts to welcome those who speak truth no matter how challenging it may seem. Open our minds to discover new ways of being fully human in a fragile world. Open our souls that we may be a faithful conduit of your love for all that you have made. God beyond all things, creator, saviour and life-giving breath, have compassion according to the abundance of your steadfast love; for you do not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

Passages from Lamentations: Lamentations 1:12; 2:14; 3:34; 3:31 (NRSV) The Greta Thundberg quotes are from her speech to the UN Climate Action Summit, September, 2019.


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