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Day #6: Copenhagen Delegation De-brief – Saturday, December 12

   The march organized by NGO's from all over the world was called "Planet first - people first" and was full of creative costumes, banners, music, and people of all ages. One of our delegation's favorite signs carried by marchers was "There is No Planet B". Before they headed out of the square there were a variety of big speakers, one of which was Wangari Matthai. Most were Europeans, but there were speakers from all regions of the world represented.


Speech from Pat Watkins

I’m Rev Pat Watkins, a United Methodist minister from Richmond VA in the US.  I’m here with the United Methodist Women’s delegation.

My job is to proclaim the Kingdom of God which is God’s vision of how we can live today, in the here and now, right now, here on earth, even here in Copenhagen.  Hebrew scripture describes the kingdom thusly: 

The Prophet Isaiah says, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who grieve, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.”  This is God’s kingdom!

In God’s Kingdom, all people are created equal with equal rights.  We don’t have to talk about human rights because we all have them.  Justice reigns from one end of the planet to the other.  In God’s Kingdom the earth itself has rights.  There are no intellectual property rights in God’s Kingdom, only God’s property rights.  The earth belongs to God.

In the Kingdom of God nothing is privatized.  Believe it or not, in God’s Kingdom the forests and the water, the mountains, the seas, the air, all still belong to God.  Corporations do not own God’s kingdom.  There are no market-based solutions in God’s Kingdom.  In the Kingdom of God we do not make decisions based on the economy, there are no rich and no poor, we do not place a monetary value on people so that we can mathematically discard those who are too expensive.  In God’s kingdom there is no World Bank, IMF, or WTO.  God’s trade agreements are different than our own.  In God’s kingdom we never pretend to do good while at the same time reach into the pockets of the world’s poor and ask them to pay for the excesses of our so-called developed country.

God’s kingdom is never negotiated or brokered.  God does not make deals.  God does not accept bribes from corporate lobbyists and cannot be bought.  In God’s Kingdom false solutions are rejected and it is not illegal for one country to help another.  There is no greed in God’s kingdom.

In the Kingdom of God, we plant our own seeds, not Monsanto’s and we don’t attempt to patent the very mechanisms of life itself.  Only God holds those patents.  In the Kingdom of God, we allow God to be God.

In the Kingdom of God, island nations do not drown; cultures and indigenous peoples do not disappear, native, sacred lands are not drilled or mined.

In God’s Kingdom, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.  I have yet to see that philosophy reflected here at Copenhagen, not even from my country, that claims to have been founded on Christian principles of love, compassion, and justice, principles that are not unique to Christianity but are universal among all of humanity.  I urge all US negotiators to listen to their own hearts and souls and spirits that are speaking those universal truths to them and then to act on them in every thought they have and decision they make here.

My president, Barak Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week.  I am proud of him, but now the challenge is for him and all of his country to live into that prize.  We have an opportunity to make the rest of the world proud of us.

In the Kingdom of God, we don’t send Christmas cards that say “Peace on Earth” because we have peace on earth.  And in the Kingdom of God, we even have “Peace with Earth,” because we cannot have one without the other.  This Christmas, may we pray for peace on earth, peace with earth, justice for all humankind and the earth itself, and finally for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen.


© 2014 United Methodist Women