At Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law mentioned that she heard a program at church recently about Global Warming. She didn't know what to think, she said. The man said it was such a political issue, she said. It didn't take long to figure out that the speaker she heard doesn't believe that global warming is real.
It wasn't more than a month ago that our synod invited Will Steger to come and speak to us. His presentation was "Eyewitness to Global Warming", and one of the things he said was, "this is not a matter of politics." Not for him, at least. He doesn't have a political axe to grind. He's been there, seen things, and just wants to tell people what he has seen, as a person who loves the earth, and the creatures who dwell on it. It's possible that he thinks of himself as a kind of prophet, although I don't know if he would use those words.
One small story that struck me that day: there is a small Inuit village that has been in the same spot for centuries. But, they will have to move their village due to the change in climate. The village is Shismaref. When Will Steger said this name, I sat up, because a friend of mine was a Lutheran pastor in Shismaref.
Here's the problem I have with the Global Warming nay-sayers: They are telling us exactly what we want to hear. We don't have to change the way we do anything. Everything can stay just the same as it is. We can continue to live our comfortable existence. Don't worry. There is nothing to repent about.
Kind of like the false prophets -- the ones who would say, "Peace, peace," when there was no peace.
Now I don't know for 100% sure if global warming is real, although I do think that Will Steger has some credibility. I would be the first person to rejoice if I found out absolutely that there was no such thing.
But the whole thing does remind me of our gospel reading for Sunday: not the part we are always curious about, the part where some are "taken up" and some are "left behind." But the first part of the reading, when Jesus says that "as in those days before the flood, marrying and giving in marriage..." In other words, they were not paying attention, even though an ark was being built right in front of them.
We are not to be alarmists, trying to figure out the day that Jesus is coming back (we will never know), or even what day the earth will give out. But God does want us to pay attention -- to what is going on with our neighbors, the stranger, the earth -- and to live our lives as good stewards of the earth and of one another.
The basic instructions for Christians remain: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." -- and keep in mind that our neighbor includes the earth and its creatures.