“But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” –Luke 23:28
I am a big fan of artist Paul Soupiset’s Lenten Sketchbook projects. Every year he usually does one and this year it has been great as usual. The image Paul has created here depicts the ninth station of the cross, which I happened to come across on Facebook. It’s marvelous. And the quote (Luke 23:28) accompanying the illustration took on a larger ecological meaning for me this year which made me think of John Cobb’s theology and the motivation behind his environmental activism.
As a panentheist–a person who believes that the universe is God’s body–it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination for me to apply the line uttered by Jesus in Luke to the ecological catastrophe we are currently facing. From my perspective, human caused global climate change means that we are literally crucifying God. We’re torturing and destroying God’s body, i.e. ourselves, other species, and our planet. And Jesus is right, we shouldn’t weep for God. We should weep for ourselves and for our children because we know not what we do. Our children, and their children, will suffer the effects of what we, and those who have come before, have done. Cobb writes:
“I realize that we have already passed the point where changes in our behavior will prevent extensive decay. Now it is just a matter of how bad it will be. But “how bad” is still a very important matter. It is too late to prevent extensive suffering. But it is not too late to make some difference.”
John Cobb is pessimistic above in the sense the he believes it is too late to prevent extensive suffering due to global climate change. I share his pessimism in this. We can’t stop Jesus from going to the cross. It is too late. This should shake us to our core. Great pain and suffering is inevitable and it is coming.
On my good days, though, I also try to share his optimism that, perhaps, out of the ashes of this devastation something new can take shape. Perhaps an ecological civilization can arise that affirms an organic human interconnectedness with every other thing. Resurrection might still be possible. In this I pray.