If you’re anything like me, you spent much of Sunday evening and Monday watching the rain, worrying about neighbors, and looking at pictures and videos online of the flooding throughout our community. Such disasters in our community can leave me feeling powerless, scared, and sad about the destruction flowing through our county. It’s startling to see familiar landmarks and intersection suddenly submerged, and it’s heartbreaking to hear from families who have lost homes or even lost loved ones. I am so grateful for all of the people and organizations who have already stepped up to help - with rescue operations, with emergency housing, and with the coming opportunities for repairs.
I’m struck that our scriptures, like so many ancient cultural texts, have an expansive flood story. Humans have wrestled with extreme weather for all of our history, and we know that the coming decades will be times of increasing extreme weather. Some of us might be tempted to take after Noah’s example and build spaces of protection: walls to keep out the floodwaters or communities insulated from the needs of the rest of the world. May we instead take after Noah’s example in being faithful to listening for God’s call.
If we are to have any ark in the midst of these floods and the many floods to come, it will be the ark of community, the ark of supporting one another, both in our own county and across the world. Just as we need to now gather resources in Whatcom County for repair and rebuilding (and you can give to the Whatcom Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund now: (https://wcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1455), so will we also need to gather resources across our world to mitigate and heal from the effects of catastrophic climate change.
Maybe this disaster has left you wondering about how to respond to the effects of climate change. At First Congregational Church, we are blessed to partner with a number or organizations that are helping us to do just that. If you’re not already on the email action list for Earth Ministry Network, our partner that connects congregations across Washington state with opportunities to impact local climate justice issues, I urge you to do so today: https://secure.everyaction.com/AbIBSyzv3U2LveSCbWoj6A2 And here in Bellingham, we are so grateful for Re:Sources, a faithful voice that has been calling us to climate justice locally for decades now; if you’re not already on their action list you can sign up here: https://www.re-sources.org/sign-up/.
There are many other ways to respond to these floods. I expect there will be opportunities later this year to swing some hammers or tear down some drywall on our neighbors’ homes affected by this disaster. It is my prayer that we all come through this time of extreme weather with safety, healing, and renewal, so that we can listen again to God’s call, like the dove carrying new life. Let’s be an ark together.