Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thoughts on the flood (Sharon Astyk)

Sharon Astyk is a Jewish farmer in upstate New York, and a writer. She has some thoughts on Noah, in light of our own present situation, that I think are worth thinking about:

http://sharonastyk.com/2009/10/23/the-drowned-world-parshat-noah-and-the-face-of-g-d/

I don't know much about how to respond to these things, but one lesson is clear. The only way to save ourselves is not to go about to save ourselves, which always involves stepping on the faces of other people, but like Noah to be the sort of people that God will want to save, however foolish that may seem. In the practical details, I have a lot to learn about this, and so do you. As we see the wheels coming off in our world, we get reminded that we'd better sign up for class and attend.

I don't hold at all with those that figure that the end of the world is upon us, or that Jesus will return any moment. Those who think so generally claim to believe the Bible, but the Bible makes it clear that that won't be right away, just as Paul wrote in his own day in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2. However, short of the end of the world, the collapse of a civilization is a pretty stern test, as was the end of the western Roman Empire in the 5th century, and that's a problem that we do pretty clearly face today. It's a good time for anyone to seek God for a set of hearing ears, seeing eyes, and a hearing heart.

Whatever advantage we think we're getting in the world, whatever problems we thing we're solving, if we are not learning to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God, we can expect it to peel off at the most inconvenient moment, and we'll wish we hadn't skipped this prep work.

The people in Noah's day that had no use for Noah and his ark were solving their problems and protecting themselves just fine - filling the earth with violence in the process - but their solutions didn't work out too well for them when the flood came. When Jesus told us that it would be like the days of Noah before his return, he was inviting us to lay these things to heart.

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