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BY ELIZABETH PRUCHNICKI

October 6, 2020


Just Faith: Reclaiming Progressive Christianity, the new book by The Resistance Prays founder Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, is out now! Learn more here.
We're seeing this much too often.
Courtesy of NBC News — "Delta, Now a Hurricane, Breaks Record for earliest 25th named storm. When Delta makes landfall this week, it will be the first time on record that 10 storms have made landfall in the U.S. in one season."
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. - Jonah 3:4
Climate change is not going away, it’s getting worse. Hurricane Delta is the 25th named storm this season, which smashes the previous record set on November 15, 2005. So often these days, if you’re like me when reading these stories of natural disasters, it can feel tempting to succumb to cynicism. 

But then we remember the prophet Jonah and his ministry to Nineveh. From this story we remember that it is possible to take drastic actions and make bold changes that benefit a community for generations. 

Once Jonah is swallowed by that big fish and dropped unceremoniously on Nineveh's shore, he proclaims the scripture quoted above — that within forty days, Nineveh shall be overthrown. The Ninevites, even as a non-Israelite community, listen to the prophet’s message, change their ways, and are ultimately saved. 

This can be our story too. We have the opportunity and the means to make 2020 the year that we take decisive action to change our relationship with the climate. We can heed the warnings of ever-more-present and dangerous natural disasters and we can demand change. We can do the 21st century equivalent of donning sackcloth and fasting: we can pray in community and think of creative ways to honor God and save creation.

We can take this story as a message of hope and apply it to our hurting world. There is always still time to protect our climate and care for creation. Let this year be the last year that we break a record for devastating natural disasters.
 
Donate to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in their efforts for hurricane relief, and watch the documentary 2040 for a hopeful perspective on how to make substantive adjustments to protect the climate.
God of big fish and mighty oceans, You lead us around this varied, broken world and try to open our eyes and our hearts to suffering. Now give us the strength to make those bold changes required of us to care for creation. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
Elizabeth Pruchnicki, MAIR, MTS is a graduate from Wesley Theological Seminary and Syracuse University. She co-hosts The TLDR Bible Show podcast. Listen wherever you get your podcasts!
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