We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today.
We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.
In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late.
This is no time for apathy or complacency.
This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, January 20, Americans pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More than merely a civil rights leader, he was a champion of human rights, a defender of the underdog and the downtrodden. He was a visionary and dreamer with his eyes on the prize of a more just society that places people, all people, above profit, power and prejudice. He was a man who kept the flame of hope burning in self and others through both his rhetoric and his actions. He believed in a moral universe where the long arc would eventually bend toward equality and justice for all.
Keeping hope alive, keeping the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice is exactly what is desperately needed in the all-too-critical decade ahead. We have now entered the thin 10 year envelope of time that will more than any previous decade determine the fate of all God’s creatures, great and small. For decades we have been warned of a hostile future on an inhospitable planet no longer fit to nurture life as we have known it during the “user friendly” climate of the Holocene epoch. And for decades we have ignorantly and willfully disregarded and waged war against scientific truth and moral justice in order to maintain the unjust status quo on a tilted playing field that favors the few while sacrificing the masses.
Had we heeded decades ago the warnings of global warming and rapidly changing climates caused by humanity’s unsustainable lifestyle and repented (turned around) of our wanton ways, we would not be facing that “fierce urgency of now” that Dr. King spoke of in the previous century. The future that seemed so far off, no longer is. Tomorrow has become Today. What was a battle for civil/human rights back then has been dwarfed by the battle for the right of all creatures to merely exist, much less thrive on a plundered and polluted planet whose natural systems are being distressed and debilitated as never before in human history.
So it is that on MLK Jr. Day and the dawn of a new decade, we should remember his words about “the fierce urgency of now” and apply them to a new movement that must dominate the next ten years of our fragile existence. It’s a new decade, and it is in this decade that we need to take climate action very seriously. Every scientific report on the prognosis of the planet that sustains us all screams the warning that “In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late.” These findings put a sobering lens on the climatic shifts our planet is undergoing now. We have a narrow window of opportunity to make major changes in the ways we produce and use energy, dramatically reducing our emissions by 2030. This is the decade in which the Church must lead and shine as never before.
Here at Pittsboro Presbyterian Church our Eco-Justice team is forming our action plan for 2020 as we prepare to submit our second year application for Earth Care Congregation (ECC) status in the PC(USA). The first major environmental event of 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, begun in 1970 by then Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. What a timely observance to launch us into the most critical environmental justice decade of all time.
May we as the Church feel the Spirit touch us with “the fierce urgency of now” and inspire and empower us to toss apathy and complacency aside as together we lean in with vigorous and positive action to bend the arc of the moral universe toward eco-justice. May it be so!