Lection Connection

February 21, 2021: Signs of Promise

From Paul Turley

 

Great promises have been made by the world community since the end of the Second World War. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1951, the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 and now, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which came into force on January 22, 2021.

 

With the world consumed with COVID and COVID news, some of us might have missed this new promise that the international community has made to safeguard our future.

 

In 2017, according to the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs, the UN General Assembly convened, “a conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.”

 

ICAN, the organization and campaign focused on prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons – and the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner – said, in response to the entry into force (the official designation of the enacting of the treaty), that this is, “the first treaty to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons and provide a pathway for all nations to outlaw and eliminate nuclear weapons. It is a crucial piece of international law that puts nuclear weapons in the same illegal category as biological weapons, chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions.”

 

Article one of the treaty lists the treaty’s prohibitions:

Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to:

(a) Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;

(b) Transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly or indirectly;

(c) Receive the transfer of or control over nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices directly or indirectly;

(d) Use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;

(e) Assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;

(f) Seek or receive any assistance, in any way, from anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;

(g) Allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control.

 

While the entry into force for this new treaty is a promise in the right direction for the international community, there is still some distance to go. The major nuclear powers – the USA, the UK, France, and Russia are yet to sign.

 

Explore…Genesis 9:8–17

  • How do you think the international promise of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons compares to the divine international promise in our text?
  • The promise that God makes in this story is a promise made to humanity and “every living creature,” between God and the earth. What might this mean for us today?
  • Why do you think, in the ancient time from which this story comes, God needs to be remined of God’s covenant with the earth by means of a bow?

 

Prayer…

God of the earth, the sky, and all they contain, remind us today that we are all your creation, that we all come from your life and love. Help us to know our place and our role in the cosmos and the live rejoicing on your good earth. Amen.

 

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