Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew and the Archbishop of Canterbury have united for the first time in history to issue an urgent appeal for the future of the planet. Never before have the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Worldwide Anglican Communion issued a joint statement. The exhortation is to combat justice and inequality, and to ‘choose life’ – environmental sustainability – for the planet’s sake. Their full statement is here:
It is extraordinary, is it not, that this unprecedented statement from the Pope, the Patriarch and the Archbishop didn’t mention Jesus once. Perhaps they thought by their unity that the world would know they love one another and so are Christ’s disciples. Perhaps they considered that the call to choose life for the Earth might be a metaphorical appeal to salvation; that the literal growing of fruit might symbolise the fruits of the Spirit; that the harvest of crops might be understood as the gathering of souls.
But it does seem peculiar that the name of Jesus doesn’t get a look-in.
Why? They obviously aren’t ashamed of their Lord, so why? Why would they chose to omit the author and finisher of their faith; ‘who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God‘?
Why wouldn’t they take this unprecedented apocalyptic opportunity just to squeeze that in somewhere? Why?