As Hurricane Florence headed toward the U.S. East Coast this past week, The Washington Post editorial board declared that President Trump is “complicit” in such extreme weather by his playing down humans’ role in increasing weather risks and by his continuing to dismantle efforts to address those risks. We may debate human contributions to climate change, if we even grant that long-term climate change is occurring, but, on a deeper level, the President, you, and I are all complicit in Florence.
In Romans 8:19-22, the Divinely-inspired St. Paul writes of creation’s being subjected to futility, being in bondage to corruption, and groaning in the pains of childbirth. The first man and woman’s original sin, its corruption passed to us their children, and our own actual sin, whether in being poor stewards of His creation (Genesis 2:15) or in some other way, all cause or contribute to extreme weather, as well as warrant what such weather can serve to remind us of, namely, our temporal deaths and eternal torment in hell.
However, if we turn away from our sin and trust God to forgive our sin by grace through faith in His crucified and resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, then God forgives our sin, and then we can look forward to glorified bodies, free from sin, and to eternal life on a recreated or restored earth under a recreated or restored sky, free of extreme weather like Florence (see Romans 8:23-25).
Especially right now, we pray for all those who are being affected by Florence, that God would not let the hearts of His people despair nor their faith fail them but that He would sustain and comfort them, as well as bless all efforts to attend the injured, console the bereaved, and protect the helpless (Lutheran Service Book: Agenda, #292).
And, we try to be good stewards of God’s creation, as a response to our Heavenly Father’s goodness to us, not because a human law tries to control pollution or restrict our use of resources. The government and its laws cannot save us from ourselves, only God and His Gospel can!
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.