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Reality Matters

"Humanity faces a difficult truth: climate change is making our planet uninhabitable," - Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

"If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors forever and ever." Jeremiah 7:5-7

Drawing wisdom from Jeremiah (7:5-7), the imperative to confront brutal truths necessitates transformative action— the changing of ways, championing justice, eschewing oppression, and renouncing practices that inflict harm. Yet, as Jeremiah warns, this reality needs to be embraced if disaster is to be averted.

Confronting reality often stirs a maelstrom of emotions—pain, guilt, and moral conflict. Yet, Jeremiah's admonition beckons the covenanted community to embrace this discomfort to avert impending disaster. The prophet's mandate, his prophetic utterance, is intended to ignite societal awareness, challenging the prevailing narrative tethered to 'business as usual,' militarism, oppression, injustice, and idolatry.

In our contemporary milieu, formidable forces, embodied in corporations and financial systems, downplay reality to safeguard short-term profits and shareholder interests—a parallel to the counter-narrative in Jeremiah's era perpetuated by the temple elite.

The climate crisis epitomizes this harsh reality. Regardless of deniers, our warming world at 1.2 degrees above preindustrial temperatures signals strain on civilization through fires, floods, and extreme weather. Hurtling towards 2.7 degrees by 2100, collapse looms, marked by conflict, mass migration, and malnutrition.

Accepting this unsettling truth demands substantial changes in daily life, civilization's functioning, and accustomed comforts. Regardless of beliefs, change is inevitable. Our civilization stands at a crossroads—it will either perish or undergo a rapid transition.

Continued temperature rise foretells societal collapse—a world entrenched in death, destruction, and decay. Alternatively, urgent adaptation and transformation offer a chance to avert catastrophe. Yet, this transition demands relinquishing perceived security, pleasures, and navigating the emotional distress of a shared existential threat.

Reality matters, repentance matters, and changing outcomes matter urgently.

Do not Romanticise Reality,

But look it straight in the eye.

And behold the nightmarish evil that many endure.

Don't dodge or look away,

But lament,

And grieve,

The kingdom is calling.

Don't dodge or look away,

But listen.

And love,

The Kingdom is Calling.

Do not romanticize reality,

But look it in the eye,

And commit yourself to justice and peace.

Hold the hand of the hurting,

Wrap your arms around the broken,

Hold their gaze, and whisper,

‘This is not the way it was meant to be.’

Speak truth to those corrupted by power,

Stand up to the oppressed,

Hold their gaze and whisper.

‘This is not the way it is meant to be.’

Do not romanticize reality,

But rest a while in extravagant love.

Bathe in his kindness,

Receive his healing.

Do not romanticize reality,

But know that hope is on the way.

For he will transform reality,

There is not a hurt that he will not heal.

-Swales, 2024


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