Proverbs 1: 20 – 33
Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently, but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
For waywardness kills the simple,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but those who listen to me will be secure
and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.’
“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred. … Observed increases in well-mixed greenhouse gas concentrations … are unequivocally caused by human activities.”
The Sixth IPCC Report: The Physical Science Basis has just been published with these stark words. 3,949 pages in the online version spell out the evidence. The time for dispute is over.
How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
The “simple ones” in Proverbs may not be the ordinary folk whose wisdom comes at a high price wrought from real-life experience, but those who consider themselves elite, knowing what’s best; the educated whose understanding remains rooted in the past, closed to new understandings; those who know how to operate the system to their own benefit; those whose exploitation of natural resources impacts climate change; those who dismiss evidence in previous IPCC reports.
You have ignored all my counsel. Because they hated knowledge, they shall eat the fruit of their way.
Who are “they”? Not just politicians, captains of industry or bankers. It’s you. It’s me.
It’s not necessarily that we want to destroy God’s creation, but our way of life is expensive in terms of world resources and it’s hard to ameliorate that. But it does not mean that we should not try.
Those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.
It’s a bit like our worship and prayer life. We can’t all be saints, great worship leaders, learned theologians, write inspirational poetry or make terrific music. But we can do our bit to worship God and show others love for Jesus and Creation.
Words and deeds can affirm what is right, bringing the sure knowledge that every reduction to greenhouse gases will combine to fulfil that great theological statement “All small contributions gratefully received!”
As we contemplate the wonders of Creation
and agonise over the increases in fire, flood and wind
we humbly offer what we can to reduce
our own impact.
Accept our offering and answer
for we seek you diligently, and trust that we will find you.