The mornings are so very dark these days, and my sunlight lamp is no substitute for the actual sun. Still, I kind of like the long nights—the calm, the quiet, the sense that most tasks should be accompanied by a hot mug of tea. At this time of year, I find myself both yearning for more light and feeling relieved to retreat into darkness.

I know that my relationship with long nights is a privileged one. Anytime I want to escape the darkness, I simply turn on a light. For me, access to cheap, renewable hydropower has meant that not only can I turn on lights whenever I want, but I can work or read whenever I need or want to. I can cook without creating indoor pollution that will sicken my family. I didn’t have to birth my children in darkness. Light has been integral to my health, my education and my ministry. With nearly a fifth of the world’s population still without access to energy, I can’t take this for granted.

More articles and resources on COP21:

UMC Reports from Paris and “Warm Hearts, Cool Climate” resources – General Board of Church and Society

Prayer and Worship resources for COP21Citizens for Public Justice

Calls for Climate Justice in Paris – Sojourners

Prayer, Advocacy are daily tasks at climate summit – UMNS

Daily Prayers and Reflections During the Paris Climate Talks First UMC of Omaha, NE

We Need a Moral Miracle – Fossil Free UMC

As we enter into the season of Advent with its metaphors of darkness and light, our world leaders are deep in conversation about how to wean the world off carbon-based power and create renewable energy access for all at the Convention of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris. They are debating to what extent they are willing to stop digging ever deeper for carbon-based energy trapped in the earth, and turn to the heavens for energy from the wind and sun.

This is a political and moral conversation, one in which the United Methodist Church is actively engaged. Four agencies from our denomination recently sent a letter to COP21 leaders calling them to create meaningful carbon limits:

Our experience in ministry around the world confirms what science tells us about our changing Earth: our brothers and sisters are being impacted by extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and the effects of climate-related disease and hunger. As you gather in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties, we urge you to support a binding international agreement with ambition that matches the urgency of the climate crisis.

Photo by the Rev. Lisa Garvin via UMNS John Hill, United Methodist Board of Church and Society staff member, and Daniel Obergfell, Church and Society board member from Germany, at the U.N. climate change summit in Paris.

Leaders from the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries, along with United Methodists around the world, are on the ground in Paris, engaged in advocacy with ecumenical and interfaith partners. They are standing in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of advocates who have set aside their fears of terrorism to bear witness to the degradation of God’s creation and the deep suffering of God’s people.

Over the next two weeks, the Pacific Northwest Conference must bolster their witness with our prayers. We must pray that world leaders will make sacrificial commitments to reducing fossil fuel emissions and that countries will stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry on the backs of the world’s poor. And we must couple our prayers with our own actions, like fasting, local advocacy, and ending church investment in fossil fuels.

In this season of Advent, we wait for glimpses of light, but when it comes to mitigating climate change, we can’t wait much longer. Let us do all we can to hasten the coming of renewable light for all people as we pray for the light of Christ to shine throughout the world.

Photo by Yann Caradec, CC (BY NC ND)


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