Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7

We cannot do this alone. The Global Goals are ambitious and will require everyone’s engagement. These last 5 goals highlight prosperity through life of the world through climate stewardship, life under sea and on land, and peace. There is an emphasis on Government engagement with some of the final goals, appreciating that major international decisions have to be made in order to save our planet. In Goal 17 we also find a potential key to the overall success of all the SDGs – partnership.

However, as we all know, working together is anything but easy. Just ask the professionals: people who have been married their whole lives, the United Nations, business partners, even sometimes dare we say, local churches. Ask them, is partnering easy? If those who have been successful were to offer their secret; they would all give a unique perspective, but the common answers would talk about the richness of relationship, trust, and the spirit of having each other’s best interests as key. 

On the other hand, there are numerous obstacles that stand in the way of positive partnerships. “We know best.” “Our way is the right way.” “Why shall I bother with you when a better partner may come along.” “I cannot be bothered” etc.

Goal 17 is perhaps the foundation to the success or failure of the other 16. Get partnership right, even across the church, and think how much can be achieved! 

These goals are taking the collective seeking of Jeremiah 29:7 to the very core of prosperity of life on our planet (land and sea), peace and together-ness (partnerships). During the exile in Jeremiah’s time he said: “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’”

The ‘city’ has changed. We are now not only citizens of the immediate communities that we live in; but also the nation states that our communities are in; and also the planet as a whole. If they prosper, we too will prosper. Embracing this status as planetary citizens is important, but we should be careful not to get bogged down with questions over what our exact citizenship is and who with? Jesus challenged such thinking in the Good Samaritan. A better question to ask would be, are we seeking peace and prosperity in the place we are in (and its interconnectedness with the rest of the world) and indeed praying for it. The call here is to seek, to pray, to partner for the prosperity of all of Gods world.

Empathy Action (Ea) is one such group challenging concepts of global citizenship. Running simulations in the UK, EA take participants through a simulated experience, calling for an empathy driven desire to partner for the fulfilment of these goals.

SDG 16 - Engage.JPG