RCL – First Sunday in Lent – 2/26/12
1 Peter 3:18-22
Freezing followed by flooding in along the Danube River.
Journalists killed in Syria.
Austerity Laws in Greece and Portugal.
Russia warns Israel against attacking Iran.
Rising gas price in the US threaten the economy.
These were just a few of the the news headlines that have stuck in my head this week. These don’t include the most recent foolishness from presidential candidates, the debate (?) over birth control coverage, or my confusion over state and federal budgets that propose tax cuts. Or any of the more local stories that bring stress and worries of their own. But these few headlines make me wonder how human race has managed to survive this long.
Whether we blame global warming or a more natural climate shift, it’s hard deny changing whether patterns. Some would say that floods, earthquakes, famines, and the like are signs of “The End Times.” I’m not so inclined to believe this, but I do marvel at our capacity for destruction and our reluctance to change our ways. Politics get in the way. It costs more to make changes that would have less impact on the environment. If we continue the way we are, there are going to be more problems with shifting weather patterns and they might be much closer to home than Serbia.
It makes me wonder if anyone ever thinks of that covenant God made with Noah. I am not going to argue the historicity of the story, but literal or not, Noah’s story contains Truth. God promised not to destroy creation. We are supposed to hold up our end of this sacred promise. I know I don’t do a very good job doing my part. It’s easier not to think about personal responsibility, let alone global responsibility, when it comes to environmental issues. Where would we be if God valued the covenant the same way we do?
While I am on the subject of value… I cannot believe that human beings still resort to war and threats of war to resolve differences. In a class project a few years ago, I learned that in recorded history, there has never been an absence of war; somewhere in this world there has always been war. How can this be? How many thousands more must die before we learn differently? Oil. Religion. Land. Hatred. None of these seem valid causes for war. None of these are worth destroying lives and countries over. Surely, this is no way to care for creation, let alone all its creatures!
It seems that from war, I turn to economics. I can’t really say much about the economic issues in Greece, Portugal, or the US, really. All I can do is scratch my head and wonder at the mess. It baffles me that there are countries, whole nations, on the brink of economic collapse. There are people without enough food or shelter everywhere… and it seems to only be getting worse. Yet, I know there is enough food on the planet to feed everyone. There are enough resources. But we continue to make war far more easily than we make peace… What is it about human beings that enable us to fight over differences long before we unite in similarity and need?
As this Lenten season begins, I am struck by responsibility – for the actions I take and those I do not. Even if I wanted to opt out of Noah’s covenant, I can’t walk away from Christ, the new covenant. I want to live into my status as God’s beloved, freely given to me in Christ. I want God to be pleased with me. I want the world to be a safer, more peaceful, more just place. I want future generations to live on this planet. In the grand scheme of things, there is little enough that I can do. So for Lent, I will make every effort to give up ambivalence and complacency and ignorance.
Make me to know your ways, O God; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O God, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O God! Good and upright is God; therefore God instructs sinners in the way. God leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble God’s way. All the paths of God are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep God’s covenant and God’s decrees.