Christmas 2022 and SDGs 2030
“Peace on earth and Goodwill amidst all peoples” is the message announced at the birth of Jesus the Christ. Undoubtedly, Peace on earth is the crux of Christian faith, as also of all faith and ideological persuasions.
“To foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence” is how the fourth pillar of the Sustainable Development Goals is defined. The Global Agenda 2030 captured PEACE as one of the five pillars of Sustainable Development, the others being People, Planet, Prosperity, and Participation.
Amidst war and strife, and the contexts of ‘undeclared emergencies’ in our country, and in some others world over, Christmas 2022 (coming as it were midway in the 2015 – 2030 SDG regime) reminds us of the calling to focus on the task at hand – that of building “peaceful, just and inclusive communities.”
In the context however, we are reminded that ending poverty and hunger, protecting planet from degradation, ensuring that all humans and beings enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives, and calling all countries, stakeholders and people to participate in the process are prerequisites to fostering peaceful, just and inclusive communities.
While SDGs themselves maybe perceived as framed from within the existing market-driven development framework, the pillars and targets are notable signposts on which diaconal expressions of different Indian Churches and Christian Diaconal Agencies have mapped their ministries and activities in order to relate to the ongoing concerted mission of life affirmation of all interested parties including governments and civil society organisations.
May Christmas 2022 – the feast of incarnation – bring us back, as ecumenical communities, to focus on People (the poor and the hungry), Planet, Prosperity (life-flourishing vis-à-vis profit), PEACE, and Participation of all stakeholders (including in our own context the historically and structurally discriminated dalits, tribals, women, persons denoting richness of gender and sexual diversities, children at risk and gender non-conforming children, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV/ AIDS, women and men in sex work, and such others who inhabit the kingdom of God first and much before those that profess to be righteous).
And may this renewal of focus enable us to envision and work toward constructing a new world in 2023 rooted in the ‘sovereignty of the least’
Wish you all a meaningful Christmastide and a blessed 2023!
Rev. Asir Ebenezer