A scientist in my former congregation, John, and I used to get into friendly arguments about what the most crucial moral and spiritual issue of our day was.
I said it was poverty and its precursors: racism, income inequality and extractive capitalism because they caused untold suffering. He said it was global climate change because it was certain to escalate and expand that suffering.
[The sun’s] rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them, And there is nothing hidden from its heat. – Psalm 19:6 (ESV)
The progressive Christian and climate prophet Bill McKibben recently warned that as the weather system known as El Niño returns this summer, swirling into already warming trends, we are in for new record global temperatures that “will spark novel forms of chaos.”
Ever the hope-stoker, McKibben went on to say, “I don’t say all this in the service of despair, but of preparation. Each of these surges in warming comes with new political possibilities as people see and feel more clearly our peril.”
John, Bill and the psalmist were right. From Portland to Houston to Boston, nothing and no one is hidden from the sun’s heat. Nor is there respite in the oceans, which are warming even faster than the scientists predicted.
We are those proverbial frogs sitting in a pot of hot water. The fact that the pot is suddenly coming to a boil fast might, in fact, be a gift from God: the disaster God is using to help us remember our legs and jump out.
- How is the sun’s heat (Psalm 19:6) finding you where you live? What injustices in your community are being revealed by the heat?
- The writer quotes Bill McKibben, who emphasizes the need for preparation over despair. What do you think the role of preparation is in a life of faith?
Sun-Maker, we know you can’t turn the heat down. We must be the answers to our own prayers on climate change and its novel chaos. Scare us into leaping, before we are cooked. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rev. Molly Baskette is the lead pastor of First Church Berkeley UCC and the author of books about church renewal, parenting, spiritual growth and more. Sign up for her author newsletter or get information about her newest book at mollybaskette.com.