Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

May 12, 2019: Identity of Resistance

By Fraser Macnaughton


Over the recent Easter break there has been a remarkable upswell of support across the UK and in particular London for a group known as Extinction Rebellion. Protesters have occupied sites across London for more than a week to highlight the escalating ecological crisis, which has caused severe travel and logistical disruption to the capital.


The Extinction Rebellion group, backed by senior academics, politicians, and scientists during nine days of peaceful mass civil disobedience, concluded that “The world has changed…a space for truth-telling has been opened up.”


After the direct action the focus is due to shift to educational work in communities and regions around the UK and internationally, to build up a resilient movement to force politicians to address the climate crisis.


The group has conducted some fairly innovative means of resistance over the period. There has been the more prosaic blocking of bus thoroughfares and bridges, especially around Parliament, but also a “die-in” at the Natural History Museum to highlight the point about “mass extinction.”


Since the protest began, 30,000 new backers or volunteers have offered support to the group raising almost £200,000 mostly by way of small donations. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student, who sparked a global youth-based movement when she began a “climate strike” outside Sweden’s parliament last year, also visited the protests outside Westminster. The cumulative pressure obviously had it’s affect in the higher echelons of government as news emerged that Environment Secretary Michael Gove agreed to meet representatives of the group to discuss an appropriate response to what the group call the “climate emergency.” As witnessed by the large number of protesters, public concern about the scale of the ecological crisis, coupled with a perceived lack of serious action by governments across the world, is growing apace. So while more than 1,000 Extinction Rebellion activists have been arrested in the recent resistance campaign, support has grown.


Explore…Acts 9:36–43

  • How would or does your faith community engage with the issue of climate change and global warming?
  • To what extent do you think direct action is a useful tool for transformation?
  • How comfortable is your faith community in regards to being perceived as a defender of the status quo?



Good Friday was all about Jesus’ execution as a threat to the established political order. We lament the number of times since then that the church has been a bastion of establishment rather than a community of resistance. May we, in our time and generation, be true to the values of the kingdom. Amen.


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