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Halleluyah: Reflections on COP21

Liya in Paris

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’lu
Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u
Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u
Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u

Kol han’shama, t’hallel yah, hal’lu, hal’lu Yah

I am writing now from the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, where I am currently attending an ecumenical service. I am sitting between a Franciscan sister and my colleague from Green Muslims and watching Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant clergy and lay practitioners of all denominations pray together for our earth and the political success of the 21st conference of parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

I have been in Paris for a week today. I landed on Thanksgiving Day and for the past week have served as the Jewish community representative on the Religions for Peace USA delegation to the conference. I have marched with youth from around the world, heard stories from indigenous peoples, and shared solution possibilities with academics and environmental leaders. All of these constituent groups and many others have gathered in the conference “Green Zone” to represent civil society.

Since arriving at the Green Zone space three days ago, I have found myself humming: 

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’lu

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’YA

It felt strange at first that this moment of international crisis, in the midst of terrorist attacks both in Paris and at home in the United States, as the climate refugee population swells and as small island states face the reality of their imminent extinction, to feel hopeful. And yet, there I was, walking through the conference center humming to myself in joy.

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’lu

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u

On Day Two, the humming had not stopped. I met with other faith leaders and we decided to hold a prayer vigil. I found myself chanting at the front of the conference space together with Catholic, Unitarian, Presbyterian, and other faith leaders. Our voices rose high into the space, turning heads at our unusual demonstration.

Today, in Notre Dame, we sand in French, English, and German. Today we read Micah (6:8): “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” Today we read Matthews (5:11-16): “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, for righteousness sake, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven…” Together in the packed church we sang in words that transcend our national differences and across our denominational and faith lines.

 Allelu, Allelu,  Allelu,, Allelu

We, as people of faith, deal in the market of hope. We body forth an ethic of joy. We recognize that the fight for climate justice comes from a place if love for all humankind today and for the generations that come after us tomorrow. At the same time that we are pushing for a strong commitment, we also cannot lose sight of the beauty of our planet and our common humanity.

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’lu

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u

Hal’lu, hal’lu, hal’u

Kol han’shama, t’hallel yah, hal’lu, hal’lu Yah

 

 

 

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