“the fierce urgency of now” and Chasing Ice

by Sara Ward, OhIPL Director

On January 21st, we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  This great leader still provides inspiration for us in our work together.  As we continue to face the new challenges before us and work towards a world that is sustaining for all God’s creation the words of this great teacher remind us of “the fierce urgency of now.”

  1. “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. … We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words ‘Too late.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.- Selma, AL 1965

MM7792 Melt ZoneHave you seen the movie, “Chasing Ice”? The documentary began with the usual anti-global warming/climate change deniers’ news clips which continue to undermine meaningful dialogue on these issues.  It then featured scientist/photographer James Balog, working for National Geographic, and who became fascinated with the movement of glaciers and what they can teach us about our changing planet. This review says it all,

“In 2007 he set up the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), a well-funded project to monitor glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Montana, the Alps, Canada and Bolivia, and the results – photographed using state-of-the-art time-lapse cameras – are sensational in their beauty, terror and the irrefutable evidence they provide of the rapidity with which age-old ice packs are melting away. It’s like watching our world disappear.”

Toward the end of the film his team camped out in one location for a number of days hoping to capture on time-lapse film the largest glacier calving ever documented on camera.  They stayed put for days and then it happened, a section the size of Manhattan, and the entire calving event took less than 90 minutes.  I highly recommend the film, it was stunning, in every sense of the word.  For me it also added emphasis to something I have been struggling with for the past several years.

Over this past year I have engaged in a process of uncovering the personal, spiritual origins of my own deep passion for this work that we all do.  Part of what I have noticed within me during this time, is an underlying anxiety about the reality of the changes I am noticing in my own backyard garden, as well as those which I hear about all over the country and our world.  I admit that at times, I can become almost paralyzed by the overwhelming sense of hopelessness. At the same time I am energized by the deep faithfulness, abiding love and active concern of the members of OhIPL’s leadership team and staff, and so many of the folks in congregations throughout Ohio, as well as the network of Interfaith Power & Light leaders around the country.

Dr. King’s words continue to challenge and inspire—“Tomorrow is today, and today we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”

It is with this sense of urgency that I offer this Prayer for Acceptance of Change, written by Abby Willowroot:

Prayer for Acceptance of Change

Change has come unbidden, and at times, unwelcome,
there are many challenges to be faced and overcome,
change can be daunting and scary, but it has come,
ready or not, change is here, and must be accepted.

May we be equal to the task ahead of us,
ready to renew ourselves, ready to take on the new,
anxious to let go of old ideas that no longer fit,
moving with confidence, into the future, our future.

Make us strong enough to triumph,
flexible enough to grow and change as needed,
optimistic enough to see the new opportunities
as we move into the changing landscape of our lives.

May we accept and welcome the change that has come,
may we be ready to embrace change and move swiftly forward.

© Abby Willowroot 2008, used with permission


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