A nightmare is described in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘a female monster sitting upon and seeming to suffocate a sleeper.’
I know a little boy in Ireland who was so traumatised by his primary school teacher’s description of the advance of Communism in Europe, and the way its enthusiasts brain-washed those who opposed its beliefs, that he had a nightmare. He woke up screaming at a vision of Stalin’s divisions marching down O’Connell St, the main street in Dublin.
Well, Stalin’s divisions came – not to Ireland but to other places – and now they are no more. Hitler’s divisions marched through Europe and North Africa and now they too are no more. The colonial empires pegged out territories for themselves across the world are also no more. The cold war – from the 1950s to the 1980s – is also no more. And the threat of MAD – mutually assured destruction by opposing nuclear powers – is, if not no more, at least unthinkable.
While we have the power to make life miserable for others there is always a push- back when those oppressed rise up. As I write, delegates of the human race are gathering in Glasgow to ‘push-back’ on global warming. The media heightens the tension telling us of the many battles lost across the globe: forests destroyed, habitats eliminated, sea levels rising and global temperatures relentlessly going up. We wonder what kind of world we will leave for our grandchildren. Already, in Kuwait for example, life is almost unbearably hot.
But history tells us that human being always resist, always fight back. I met a man the other day who grows ‘essential natural oils’ and he helps others to do likewise. He is adamantly optimistic. ‘We will win this thing.’ The ‘thing’ is, of course, climate change. Uniquely, it is not about war or famine or disease. It is about the human will. It is not about science. We know the science. It is about morality. It is about doing the right thing – not the selfish thing.
‘Now that you know these things, blessed are you if you do them’ (John 13:17). Jesus knew this was the crux of the matter. We know what to do but we lack the will to do it. We have won many battles before. Are we going to win this one? The answer – based on our past success in building a better world and our present exponentially growing awareness of the threat to our survival – is, ‘yes’. We need the will of a Churchill or a Martin Luther King or even a Merkel to get there. Or perhaps it won’t be one individual who will convince the world; maybe it will be a globally shared now consciousness which is so strong it will overwhelm the delayers and begrudgers.
When Jesus was on the mountain, giving his inaugural address, he included these words; ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right.’ Their number is increasing.
November 7, 2021 All Saints Rev 7:2…11 1 Jn 3:1-3 Mt 5:1-12