Simply mentioning the term “climate change” seems to bring a social firestorm that feeds the divisive monster that’s eating our nation to death. Since I’m not educated regarding the arguments on either side of the issue, I really can’t take a position. I just know that the blame game is in high gear in light of many of the natural disasters that our country has recently experienced. Hurricane Florence is the latest disaster to strike our country, but California is still feeling the impact of recent wildfires that ripped ferociously across the land and destroyed natural vegetation, homes, and businesses. The greatest tragedy is the people who lost their lives as a result of these disasters. Wind, water, and fire are great resources that we all enjoy most of the time, but they can be deadly when out of control.
Without question, the ecosystem that keeps our planet in balance is critical to our well-being, so all of us must be good stewards of this amazing planet we call home, planet Earth. I’m sure you remember in Genesis, after the world and everything in it was created, God created Adam and Eve and placed them on mission to be caretakers of the Garden of Eden. The implication is clear that since we are descendants of Adam and Eve, God’s instruction includes us as well. God loves His highest creation, which is humankind, but the Bible is also clear that God loves the physical planet called Earth. The most quoted passage in the Bible is John 3:16, which starts out, “For God so loved the world…” The Greek word for world in this beloved verse is translated “cosmos” and is clearly referring to God’s affection for this planet. Yes, God loves rocks and minerals and icebergs and flowers and birds and… God loves the physical planet so much that when time is no more on this Earth, God will create a new Heaven and a new Earth.
Here is how John the Revelator describes this in Revelation 21:1-4.
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
Until this New Creation occurs, I want to do my part to be a good manager of the natural resources God has placed in my care. Trashing the planet, however that is being done, is an insult to God, the Creator.
I want to conclude this week’s message with a reference to a different kind of climate that I’m even more concerned about that is destroying more than this physical planet. It seems to me our society is deteriorating as well. The American cultural atmosphere is daily permeated by voices that pollute the airways like acid rain, and we need a climate change. Windbag forces are blowing from the far left and far right creating hurricane conditions that are destroying human resources that can never be replaced. How does one get their reputation back if it has been trashed by lies or innuendos?
One of the core values of The Love Akron Network is unity that is driven by civility. We are partnering with the Akron Community Foundation and other organizations to host community conversations called On the Table. This civil dialogue will take place all over Summit and Medina Counties. I want to encourage you to go to the On the Table website and sign up to lend your voice to these civil conversations. Love Akron will be hosting a conversation, and if you’d like to be part of the dialogue, contact me by emailing Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org. By conducting civil discourse and respecting each other’s diverse views, we can change the toxic cultural climate one conversation at a time.
Let me conclude by challenging all of us who claim to follow in the ways of Jesus. I’m speaking to myself on this one as well. Jesus was known for being gracious and kind and concerned and caring towards others. What did He say we, His followers, would be known by? Our love! “By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) So the next time we’re tempted to spew hate or mean political rhetoric or lies, let’s instead choose to contribute to a positive, Kingdom-building, climate-changing world with our love. Kudos to Louis Armstrong for capturing these words that are on my heart. “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!” Indeed, it is. Thank you, Creator God!