Substantial quantities of snow fell in Jerusalem this week for the first time in several years, giving me an opportunity to make a snowman with my sons and otherwise have some fun. I enjoyed making memories with them and believe it or not, I even enjoyed getting up early the next morning and taking a garden spade outside to clear off the steps in front of our apartment. It was kind of nostalgic, reminding me of the snowy winters I experienced in the old country.
However, as fun as the snow day we had in Jerusalem was, I couldn’t help but think about how the same weather pattern which was bringing a fun dusting of white stuff to my neck of the woods was also dumping a deeply unhelpful new layer of misery on people in Lebanon and Syria, many of whom had already been living in the bombed out ruins of their former homes. Intense cold, wind, freezing rain and snow were the last things many people in this region needed to have added to their already long list of problems this week.
Further afield, Russia’s capital city of Moscow experienced a historic snowfall in the past few days, along with catastrophically harsh winter conditions in such diverse locations as Texas, Northern Ireland, Greece and northern Japan. Dozens of other places all over the world have experienced more-intense-than-usual levels of harshness in their weather patterns in recent years, and conditions just seem to keep getting worse. Report after report keeps appearing of regions getting weeks or even several months worth of precipitation in just a few hours, leading to flooding, mudslides and other problems. If it’s not floods and mudslides, it’s droughts, wildfires and landslides. Or else it’s earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.
What is going on?
Some would say that weather conditions today are no worse than they’ve been for thousands of years, but we’re more aware of these things today because of the internet.
This is incorrect.
Highly intricate measurements of various metrics such as average daily temperatures, rainfall patterns, wind intensity and other meteorological records have been kept in many parts of the world for nearly 150 years now, and there is a measurable/observable pattern of these metrics becoming more intense in ways that increase their (usually negative) impact on the quality of human life.
So it’s not just that we’re more aware of things, nor is it all just a figment of our collective imagination.
The weather really is getting worse.
It will not surprise regular readers of my blog to hear that I think this is yet another sign that we are living in the very last days before the Second Advent of Jesus Christ on this earth.
It MIGHT surprise some people to hear that I don’t think this relieves people like you and me of our responsibility to be good stewards of this earth, meaning we all have a responsibility to do what we can to recycle, reduce our personal use of resources including hydrocarbons, plastics, etc. and otherwise just pay attention to what we’re personally doing to either be part of the problem or part of the solution.
This attitude one can often observe among Believers that the world is coming to an end soon anyway so why bother being mindful of the environment is wrong for all kinds of reasons, starting with the fact that God commanded the humans He created to be good stewards of the world He gave them to rule over. That most of the human race has failed miserably to heed this command does not give Believers an excuse to disregard it.
Another issue is the damage we do to our witness when we fail to be good stewards of the environment. On that note, I don’t think there’s anything helpful in telling people we don’t think human-produced pollution is causing these changes in weather patterns, and thus try to justify our lack of willingness to participate in things like recycling or similar efforts to address the issue, particularly if participating in such programs requires nothing but a very tiny amount of extra effort and/or self-awareness. Once again, this lowers the willingness of people to hear us when we try to share the Gospel with them and thus one needs to ask oneself very seriously if the benefits of making such arguments outweigh the downside.
That’s what I’ve got for you this week brothers and sisters. I hope it blessed someone.