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September 8, 2021
Hurricane Ida devastated the Gulf Coast, but also brought flooding to half the Eastern Seaboard.
Photo Credit: AP Photo | Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Extreme weather is ‘just a small preview of what’s going to happen,’ warns climate scientist –from CNBC
And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together God called seas. And God saw that it was good. –Genesis 1:9,10
Five years ago, the Elk River in West Virginia saw a massive summer flood. Besides flooding and damage to homes, mudslides and water damaged businesses, highway infrastructure, and forced one high school to hold classes in mobile units for over a year. This past week’s rising waters due to the residual rains of Hurricane Ida prompted early action – and post-traumatic stress – from residents along rivers and streams in many rural locations.

In other regions, tornadoes were spawned. Across the Eastern Seaboard, urban areas were less prepared for climate events like this. Drainage and runoff systems, often generations old, were not prepared for the amount of rain; power grids were not prepared for the wind speeds. In New York City, the subway system – the main mode of transportation for over 4.3 million people every day – was flooded. 

In New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, poor people and people of color yet again sustained the direct damage of the hurricane, but also bear the brunt of a hurricane’s aftermath. A million residents were without power; hospitals already strained by the coronavirus spike struggled with the extra challenge of Hurricane Ida.

The first creation narrative in Genesis tells of God’s vision for the world: the land and the sea in their own separateness. God brought order out of chaos, where the various parts of creation lived in harmony with one another. It is clear that these parts of creation have fallen into disorder, and chaos is an increasingly common companion. How then can we, as people of faith, work to restore the peace of creation?
When there was nothing but chaos, 
            moved over the face of the deep.
Move over us, Holy Peacemaker,
            so we might have the will to end 
            this chaos.
            Amen and amen.
Chett Pritchett (he/they) is a former United Methodist. Living in Appalachia, Chett finds resilience in changing narratives about rural communities and has taken up the spiritual discipline of hammocking. 
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