In the last weekend of November, as world leaders meet in Paris for the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference, Australian Christians will come together with thousands of others in Australia and all around the world to raise their voice for climate justice.
The crowds that gather around Australia and the world, as part of the People's Climate Marches, will be diverse.
There will be people of different faiths and people of no faith. There will be environmentalists and union activists. There will be politicians and businesspeople. Parents will march, concerned about their children's futures and children will march out of deep love for the world they have been born into. Students and scientists will raise their voices. Indigenous people speaking out to protect country. Pacific Islanders speaking out about rising seas that threaten coastal communities and entire nations.
And, God willing, many Christians will be there. Parishioners, priests and pastors from every tradition bearing witness to God's goodness in creation and His call on us to love others and love all that He has made.
For I am convinced that Christians must be at the forefront of the movement to speak out to care for God's creation and to stand with poor and vulnerable people around the world who are being harmed by climate change. I am convinced that is where Jesus is calling his people to be.
All of creation worships God, singing His praise just by the sheer wonder and delight of its existence. Sun and moon, mountains and hills, trees and flowers, all the creatures of the oceans, birds of the air, and animals of forest, field and desert, joining together in praise of our wonderful Creator God. It is to this glorious choir that we add our voices when we sing and pray our praises.
Praise the Lord from the earth you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars
wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds...
Yet, climate change is harming our common home, God's Earth on which we and all creatures depend. Warmer oceans become more acidic, harming coral reefs and sea creatures. Changing seasons disrupt breeding and feeding cycles for many of God's beautiful creatures. Droughts and disasters afflict animals just as surely as they do people.
Followers of Jesus need to be at the forefront of movements to protect and restore creation's voices of praise. That's where Jesus is calling us to be.
We know, too, that our God is passionate to see hungry people filled, homeless people sheltered, people experiencing poverty and oppression defended and empowered.
The Lord upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind,
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the stranger and sustains the orphan and the widow.
Yet, climate change is harming the poorest people, though they have done little or nothing to cause the problem.
Changes to rainfall are hurting poor farmers who receive less rain in already drought-prone areas and heavier downpours in wetter areas.
More heat energy in the atmosphere and oceans is feeding stronger storms, floods and cyclones with terrible consequences.
Rising sea levels are displacing coastal communities, damaging crops, and contaminating drinking water throughout the Pacific and parts of Asia.
For the poorest people, it doesn't take much to be pushed beyond the brink of survival and climate change is nudging, pushing and shoving those already at the edge.
Followers of Jesus need to be at the forefront of movements to protect the poorest people and communities against a changing climate. That's where Jesus is calling us to be.
Which is why I'll be marching. It's also why I'm thinking of these climate marches as not just the People's Climate Marches, but God's climate marches.
To get involved in your nearest climate march this weekend, click here for details on what's happening in your capital city.
Ben Thurley is the National Coordinator of Micah Australia.