Posted by: owizblog | July 29, 2019

Meaninglessness or Hope? Thought for the Day, Radio Scotland, 29/7/19

It’s Monday morning, we are saturated with politics, there’s more to come, so let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about Global Ecological Crisis instead!

That’s an unconscionably flip opening observation – but it’s to make a point. The world is warmer. I’d never seen a white spotted Orange Ladybird (once rare here in Scotland) before, but one landed on my phone yesterday. Climate change is suddenly personal, moving from established fact to lived reality. It’s absolutely nothing to joke about. So we joke. We sing “Always look on the bright side of life…” Because – what else can we do? Well…

Like billions of people, I go out to my car, and turn the key. My immeasurably tiny action is meaningless. Yet turning the key, I participate in something huge, that’s hurting the planet. So I walk from the Manse to Montague Street instead. Is that meaningless, or could it be part of something huge?

Maybe answer to both questions is “Yes.”

It’s Festival time! There are people on the Edinburgh streets with placards, reading on one side “I can’t go on,” on the other “I’ll go on”. They are part of an artwork by the New York artist Alfredo Jaar, and refer to a large neon sign he’s erected, bearing Samuel Becket the playwright’s words: “I can’t go on,” “I’ll go on”.

Are these just different forms of despair; giving up by trudging meaninglessly on, giving up by – well, giving up…?  Or could we carry on, but in a different way?

In the language of my Christian faith, I wrestle with the duty to live out the justice, peace and wholeness of the Kingdom of God right now. But for all of us, people of any faith or none, comes the challenge to hope. We are responsible beings; my individual actions simultaneously mean nothing, and mean everything. Powerless on my own, nevertheless, I can choose to live the life of the world not as it is, but as it should be.

We all can. And we might change things. As a Christian, I call that “hope.” But don’t we all, whatever our perspective? Have a hopeful Monday!

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