Signs of Hope: Our Open Hands

by Gwin Pratt
The Rev. Gwin Pratt serves on the board of MNIPL and previously served as St Luke Presbyterian Senior Pastor.  We at MNIPL are honored to share Gwin's writing with you.


The burgeoning Spring is upon us!! Everywhere we look we see the signs of it.  Mary Oliver says “Spring” is what happens when we “open our hands to the world.”  Yes.  Spring is new hope, new possibilities.  The unwavering harbinger of the irrepressible force we call life.


But the raw stuff of nature is not the only place these days where we see and thrill to the promise of life out of death:


Back in January, Arch Coal, one of the United States’ largest coal companies, filed for bankruptcy.  That news came as several of Arch’s competitors — Patriot Coal, Walter Energy, and Alpha Natural Resources — had also filed for bankruptcy. Arch Coal was the second largest supplier of coal in the United States behind Peabody Energy.


Then, a few weeks ago, Peabody Energy itself, the world's largest private-sector coal producer, also filed for bankruptcy in a U.S. court, citing "unprecedented" industry pressures and a sharp decline in the price of coal.  Peabody reported a loss of $2 billion last year. It warned of further declines this year due to reduced use of coal by U.S. utilities.


How does that sound, friends?  

“Reduced use of coal”!


And, it’s not just coal.   


Back in December, word came that the Chesapeake Oil company had just written off….45% of their oil inventory!!!

  1. billion barrels!!!


And where are those barrels?






At least part of the reason: As the price/demand of oil goes down, it costs more to drill for it than the profit of selling it.  One analyst called this..


“a sign of surrender” by the oil companies!!


Is it starting to feel like Spring?  


But, here’s even more hopeful news yet: Did you hear what happened on Friday, April 8th in Oregon?


In a case an attorney has called “one of the most significant in our nation’s history”, twenty one young people (ages 8 to 19), who make up “Our Children’s Trust”, are suing President Obama and the federal government over making a mess of the planet for future generations.  The Federal government, joined by major fossil fuel groups, had asked a judge to throw out the suit.  But, in a major victory for the children, all the children, the judge ruled that the suit could proceed!!


One of the plaintiffs, 15 year old Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh, said, "We sat in this courtroom today, and we have filed this lawsuit, because the leaders we have elected to take care of our planet, are failing to do their job.  My generation is going to be inheriting the crisis we see all around us today. We are standing up not only for the environment and the Earth and the atmosphere but for the rights we have to live in a healthy, just and sustainable world.  We are the generation that gets to rewrite history. The pen is in our hands, and we are rewriting history.”


He opened his hand to the world, and took a pen to rewrite history.


It’s Spring!!


Wherever you are just now, friend, with whatever vestiges of cold and drear clinging to you, here is a promise:


Spring is a sure thing.


We are invited to open our hands to it, and then marvel at what happens next.


With praise for our holy Earth,