Where Do We Find God’s Calm in Life’s Storm of Global Warming?
Gen 7:1-5; 8:20-22; 9:8-15
Did the flood cover the whole earth or just a part of it? so asked a fellow pastor whom I knew immediately was checking my orthodoxy. If I failed the test he might not cooperate with me in a ministry important to one of our members. So I hedged: the whole then-known earth, I said. Honestly? I don’t think it matters whether you believe the flood actually happened or not. That answer would have sunk my ark.
Here’s what I mean. I think it’s a waste of energy to climb up Mount Ararat looking for the ark to stick out from the ice cap. The reason I believe that is the biblical issue isn’t history it’s HIS story. In other words, while I believe that the ark story is 100% inspired by God, I don’t believe that means that it had to happen any more than though I believe that Aesop’s Fable of the tortoise and the hare is true in that persistence wins, that I believe that rabbits and turtles had to be able to talk in Aesop’s time. The flood could be just a God-inspired story meant to teach us a lesson. So hear me carefully
I am not saying that the flood didn’t happen; I am saying that God wants our focus to be less on discovering historical truth and more on discerning applicable truth.
So sidestepping, what I believe to be, Satan’s distraction of the historical argument, to
what storm today might we apply the truth of the flood story? Global warming.
Where do we find God’s calm in life’s storm of global warming?
Before the Lion King sang about the circle of life…God’s spirit inspired the story of Noah’s ark to show us how human sin hurts creation. I don’t mean to imply that Noah’s neighborhood wasn’t recycling their milk cartons, but that God made an interconnected universe. Listen to His story: (Genesis 6:5-8…)
Human sin hurts creation. Wow! Nowhere do we see that more clearly than in global warming. And today even Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton agree on this! Hallelu-jah! This spring alone there have been 500 tornadoes and record-setting flooding.
Just a few global warming statistics:
- Dr. Thomas Mann states: “we are causing extinctions at 1000 times the historical rate. Between 10-15% of mammals, amphibians, birds and conifers are threatened.”
- The North Carolina Council of Churches publishes: the US produces 25% of greenhouse gas emissions and we have less than 5% of the world’s population.
- The NCCC continues: Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire fleet of commercial airplanes every 3 months.
- The EPA reports that about 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our recycling rate is just 28%.
- Lastly, according to “BRING Recycles” one year’s worth of American greeting cards would fill a football field ten stories high.
So, where do we find God’s calm in the midst of the storm of global warming? (Genesis 9:14,15) In God’s rainbow. Read with me… So on the one hand we do not become distraught about global warming because God is in charge, not us. (Genesis 8:22) God promises… God will sustain the earth until Christ returns at the end of time.
However, on the other hand, God’s covenant is between God and you and I, and every living creature. From that standpoint God calls us to be God’s gardeners. I think God calls us to a three-part mission: to tell others about Jesus with our mouths, to help others—like clothe the naked, and feed the hungry—with our hands, and to reduce our carbon footprint. The loving Creator calls us to evangelism, justice and creation care.
And so as creation’s caretakers NBRC recycles, and is looking into solar panels, what else can we do to help God’s world? Kids, how about water? Gas? Lights? Where do we set our thermostats? Last winter the Buurstras put it down one degree. Can we put the air conditioning up one degree? What about carbon offsets. We purchased enough last year to be considered a carbon-neutral household. What about unplugging our TVs and appliances at night? (The Buurstras haven’t done that because it seems like such a pain, but we could.) How can your work/school go green? The real ark questions.
So, when you see a rainbow trust in God’s promise to care for creation enough to tend God’s garden. For the flood story really intends to calm storms like global warming.
Reverend Todd Buurstra
Pastor of Worship and Witness