EXTINCTION REBELLION TALK
Brief homily delivered at the XR demonstration in Cambridge, February 2020
As we gather to share holy communion, I would like to encourage people NOT to take this bread and this wine.
To take this bread, and this wine is an act of profound solidarity with the weakest members of our world. And if your life is shaped by a narrative of individualism – where the suffering of others remains at arms length from your life, I encourage you NOT to take this bread and this wine.
The Lord’s Prayer contains the most abused ‘us’ in the history of western literature. When we pray ‘give US this day our daily bread’ – we commit an act of radical solidarity with suffering. We become the people without daily bread. The moment we pray FOR the poor, we distance ourselves from them. No – this is the meal of the Christ who for our sake became poor. The prayer he left us compels us to become poor. And if you want to keep suffering at a safe distance, and prefer the sanitized comforts of an artificial Christ – then I encourage you NOT to pray the Lord’s Prayer.
Extinction Rebellion converges with this gathering, in that it is an attempt at the kind of solidarity to which Christ calls us.
An attempt to use our privilege:
To give a voice to those who remain unheard.
To articulate the anger of creation, at the abuses of the powerful.
To confront in love, in word, in action and in furious peace – to confront those who refuse to hear.
God only knows where that might lead.
To pray this prayer, to eat this meal, is to dare to become the suffering body of Christ.
Creator God, we worship you as the One who creates and re-creates his people.
In a world that is slowly waking up to its duty of care for the creation, slowly becoming aware of the damage we inflict upon the planet, beginning to fear for the future of the earth, let the disturbing truth become ever more clear, in order that a deeper hope may become ever more real.
In a world where talking about our environment fails to lead to action, where bold pledges are shallow publicity stunts, where urgent steps are postponed because of their political cost, let our lives reflect our claims in order that our promises ring true.
In a world where guilt or indifference or despair prevent us from being stewards of the creation and worthy heralds of the Gospel, let us worship our Creator in Spirit and in truth, in order that our lives and the life of the world may be remade.
Lord God of heaven and earth, who was creating and is creating, make our lives into signs of hope that point to you, the Creator and Redeemer of the world.