If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we in our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity – Daniel Webster (1782-1852).

The earth is the Lord’s and guided by His Calendar (Gen 1:1; Ps 24:1). The earth is a gift from God, a temporary home we share with the rest of creation. This gift comes with responsibilities as stewards and not with absolute authority over creation as rulers. Human pride and free licence to exploit and abuse God’s earth is hurting the world today. When as steward, we do not obey and act in the Owner’s holy interests and calendar, abusing and treating His people and property without respect, we undo ourselves. Climate change amounts to ways we are using and exploiting the earth to cause harm, poverty, diseases to our neighbours. When we become rulers, changing and abusing God’s standard, and forget our responsibilities to be wise stewards, (like the wise virgins), creation groans, church declines, and nations decay. Climate change can only change when we start to see the world as God’s and not ours. The Gospel news according to God’s calendar is that, there is a set limit to our use of the natural world. There is one day we will have to give an account to God.

Climate change among others last days signs warns that something is missionally abusing God’s earth and His calendar. The spate of global climate change awareness therefore lays out an apocalyptic vision and questions for the present and future.  Global climate change not only presents “perfect moral storm,” it is ‘creating a perfect spiritual storm.’ In the words of Daniel Horan, ‘the clear and present danger of global climate change is as much a spiritual crisis as it is an existential crisis … like all individual or collective threats to safety and security.’[1] Climate change suggests first a spiritual challenge in addition to a scientific and political challenges. From fisheries to agriculture to tourism, major sectors of people’s wellbeing stand to be damaged by climate change. Breaking up people’s routines of life, livelihoods, sense of identity and security, global climate change poses for us questions that demands first our personal responses as stewards not as rulers thereby drawing on our deepest beliefs about life and reaching into our spirituality.

Beyond embracing apocalyptic stories as a coping mechanism, the question is, what is my hope if climate change made my home inhabitable? What can I plan for the future? The future impact and risks from climate change and other human crisis are directly tied first to personal decisions made in the present. Fighting climate change for financial benefits and cutting greenhouse gases simply for the rich nation’s economic interest may amount to summit in futility. God is calling us to expand our circle of spiritual concern into the environment itself and step back from consumer’s lifestyle and self-destructive behaviours especially environmental degradation and pollution of developing nations.[2] Why are the politicians and much of the public in spiritual denial amid calls for transition to zero-carbon economy? Arms of flesh including technological and market solutions are not sufficient. We first need the personal spiritual renewal and will to reform our political will in order to deploy effective method on a meaningful scale.  It is time we question our ‘nature of self, our relationship with each other, the Earth and the beyond, our ways of life, and our sources of meaning.’

The Word of God offers us God’s calendar that He intends for His people and His church. The evidence of God’s Calendar existed from the beginning in Genesis to the end in Revelation. God’s calendar not only answers deep questions of life, He points us to His earthly and eternal promises. God uses His calendar to focus our attention on the dangers inherent in different forms of evil and sin. The world is becoming more and more ‘a supermarket of beliefs,’ and the lack of missional ‘perspective which the technocratic civilization had brought has led to the growth of a new irrationalism.’[3] Obedience to God’s calendar is vital in our salvation, wellbeing, and anticipation of Jesus’ Second Coming. Lack of knowledge and neglect of God’s calendar continue to lead many to errors, sins, misunderstanding and rebellion in our walk with Him.

Jesus Christ is coming back. The world’s sin sickness – injustice, rebellion, perversion, defiance, exploitation and wickedness requires Christ’s return. The Gospel reading from Mark 13 features apocalyptic reflections. This gospel deals with the signs of the end-times, “apocalypse,” the unveiling, a revelation that tells us how everything in this present world will pass away.  It seems pretty scary, even the sun and moon will stop shining and the stars will fall down. Power, position, sex, love, friendship will pass way. In this troubling context, it is easy to despair and be depressed, hence Jesus assures us there is something in life that will not pass away. The undiluted Word of God remains the same as yesterday, today and forever and as the only standard for God’s judgement. Jesus’ words are not to frighten us but to convince us of the need to be vigilant, to be prepared. There is hope beyond climate change in God’s calendar.

There is a missional importance behind Jesus’ word that “the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory.” The Gospel reading warns us not to trust in any of the powers of the world to give us security and peace. As we approach the end of the liturgical year, the reading from Mark reminds us of this aspect of Jesus’ teaching, His emphasis on the urgency of our situation and the need to decide in the light of the impending judgement. Based on our Gospel reading, the ONLY future is in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. One of the main challenges to God’s calendar and Christianity in our 21st century is the competing ideologies striving to take over.

The world is at a time when the great tribulations in human history are not only staring us in the face, the Climate crisis is threatening human existence and unity. The world systemic evil and age old divisions are brining the world to ruin. Our world and even the church are riven with sin, inequality, exploitations, discrimination, looting and stealing. God’s calendar provides us a renewing promise of rescue because ‘the wise shall shine brightly like the splendour of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever (Dan 12:3). There is need for justice and equality for solution to the climate change. The church is called to bear witness in the ruins of our different crisis by pointing the world to Jesus as the Ultimate solution to the world crisis.

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari in his speech at the opening plenary of the COP-26 climate change summit in Glasgow points the world leaders to the heart cry of developing nations, the abuse and ‘the hypocrisy of the developed world for imposing standards that would clearly stunt development in developing countries.’ According to him, Africa almost being non-emitters is being cheated, oppressed and lied to by rich nations. He reminded the developed countries of the pledge signed onto from the Paris 2016 to provide at least $100 billion yearly to developing countries. According to President Buhari, Africa has heard enough of the talk from rich nations, saying “it’s high time they walked their talk.” It is sad that some of ‘the world’s biggest emitters, China, with 11 per cent contribution to global warming, and Russia did not attend the summit in person.’[4]

COP-26 climate change summit has not meet expectations, hence Jesus’ offer to his disciples an apocalyptic vision is the same thing He is offering us today. The best of all human expectations and promises will pass away. The epicentre of Jesus’ salvific work exceeds every summit, institution, every mission statement, and every strategic plan. God is not enslaved to superlatives like human beings that can easily be seduced and deceived by the controlling powers. Using the words of a former American President James Madison, obedience to God’s calendar to overcome climate crisis and others last day’s prophecies starts with missional ‘capacity of each and all of us … to govern ourselves according to the commandments of God.’ God is just and His justice cannot sleep forever. The solution to climate crisis among others is first a spiritual shift based upon and embody the teachings of Jesus, the Redeemer of the world. God is calling us to start obeying and seeing the world as God’s and not ours.

[1] Horan, Daniel in National Catholic Reporter, https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/faith-seeking-understanding/global-climate-change-also-spiritual-crisis

[2] http://dejiokegbile.com/black-history-and-cop26-climate-summit-the-people-first-before-the-planet/

[3] Beasley-Murray, Paul, Reaching Secular People (London: British Church Growth Association, 1991), p. 5

[4] https://punchng.com/climate-change-africa-cheated-oppressed-lied-to-by-rich-nations-buhari/