More than 500 Tornadoes

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Ezek. 1:28-3:3Heb. 4:14-5:6Luke 9:28-36

Some of you may have seen the coverage of the recent tornado in Celina, Ohio, part of the jurisdiction of Maumee Valley Presbytery.  We begin recovery efforts to the devastating effects of the tornado, like they have been in Shelby, and similar to the recovery from flooding at the Delphos church.

The storms are widespread.  Climate extremes are saying it lightly.  The flooding across the country is almost too much to imagine, especially in places that hold special people and a special place in my heart like Oklahoma and Arkansas.

I was recently written up in the Presbyterian News Service as they covered the recent disaster in our area.  https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/pda-is-sending-teams-and-resources-in-wake-of-severe-weather-outbreak/

One phrase jumped out: “More than 500 tornadoes have been reported in the past 30 days across the country”

Creation is crying out.  None of this extreme weather is normal.  We have failed to be good stewards of the earth that was entrusted to our care, and now the earth is moaning.  May God grace us the grace not only to respond to those caught in the recent storm chaos, but to look beyond our immediate needs to the greater challenges of climate change.

The passage today from Ezekiel paints a graphic picture – the vivid picture of someone with a wide-open mouth eating a scroll from God.  The rebellious house of Israel, refusing to hear the words from God, is now given a prophet that is having to eat God’s own words.

Upon first reading this may sound a lot like “eating one’s own words” but by story’s end we realize the words taste sweet as honey, and it turns out for Ezekiel this may be a comforting image.  He is given God’s word.  He is not alone responding to the deep failings of the people.

Even more so, God’s Word is able to spread, and he is presented with the comfort of God’s abiding presence – given words to say to this rebellious and disobedient people.

I pray that we wake up to the catastrophic effects of climate change, and we start speaking, with the boldness of Ezekiel to our rebellious and troubled times.  There is no time to be a climate denier and stick your head in the sand.  Now is the time to listen to the experts, trust facts, and listen to what the earth is telling us, a planet that in the second creation story was given and entrusted to our care.

We can no longer turn a blind eye to the groanings of the earth on which we live.   We can no longer be satisfied with cursory readings of God’s Word, but need to read deeply and be profoundly moved daily to action.  We can no longer hope that others will act while we sit idly by.

Sometimes I hear people offer their “THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS” on social media.  And while I am not saying we shouldn’t pray, I am going to point out that all good prayer leads to action.  And if no action was taken, I am suspecting there was no real prayer to begin with.  It is “thoughts and lies”, not “thoughts and prayers” that were offered.

May each one of us eat the scroll that is offered to us today.

And may that dose of God’s Word awaken our spirits and transform our lives, activating our hands and hearts into action.

-Matt

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