Holy Prayers from Notre Dame


This is a re-posting from an original blog post dated December 4, 2015 at COP-21 in Paris. Such a surreal memory on this sad day.

Some might think I’m in Paris for the food, or the wine, or the sights.  While all those are pretty awesome, I’m really here at COP21 to put my faith into action.  Climate change is one of the most pervasive problems of our time and is causing enormous harm to God’s creation and to our brothers and sisters around the world.  As a follower of Christ seeking to love God and love my neighbors, I must respond.

And so I am here.  I am here to testify that Christians care about climate change.  I am here to show the love of God to a world that is hurting.  I am here to be a faithful steward of God’s creation.   I am here to demonstrate compassion for my global neighbors.

With me are tens of thousands of others from every nation on earth.  There are also dozens of brothers and sisters in Christ who are here to specifically be a Christian witness to the world on climate change.  Their stories are compelling and will be featured daily in the Climate Caretakers blog over the next week and a half.

Yesterday, our group attended a prayer service in the ancient cathedral of Notre Dame.  Simply being in this magnificent church is awe-inspiring with its soaring ceiling, beautiful buttresses and Gothic brilliance.  Last night’s experience, however, was even more powerful as we joined in prayer over climate change with hundreds of people from all over the world.  Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox leaders led us in prayer for God’s creation and for the climate.   

It is impossible to describe what it was like to worship and pray with such a multicultural, multilingual, and multi-denominational gathering inside one of the most beautiful churches in the world.  As our prayers and songs rose to the heights of the beautiful stone arches I couldn’t’ help but think about the cultural power that the church has to change the world.  For centuries this church was the most important building in the most important city in the world, and now we were joined in unity as a global movement of Christians to respond to one of the greatest challenges humankind has ever face.  Suffice it to say that my soul was moved by this glimpse of community, love, and unified prayer.   

Without doubt the most powerful moment of the evening occurred as we all prayed the Lord’s Prayer in unison and in our own languages.  As I prayed “your kingdom come,” I thought, “IT’S HERE!”  This is what God’s kingdom looks like.  People from many tribes, nations, tongues, and races praying together for God to be glorified through our lives and actions.  It is through these prayers that change will happen. Our hope is not in escape or politics or technology or ideology; our hope is in God.  And scripture tells us again and again that God cares for the suffering and for his creation.

I don’t know how many languages were represented that evening, but I do know that God’s kingdom came in that historic cathedral.  And that his Spirit is at work in believers to move us toward faithful environmental stewardship.