Pastor’s Pen

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, thought the earth should change…”

                                                               Psalm 46

         Not everybody believes in climate change, unless you happen to live by the sea. The increasing storm surges cause havoc with low- lying neighborhoods, and costs for flood insurance have subsequently sky-rocketed in many parts of the country. In conversation with a colleague recently whose church lies on an isthmus of land between a bay and the sea, I asked him about how climate change impacts his ministry.

         He shared candidly that there is an increasing tendency for folks from up north to move to Florida, cash in hand, and buy ocean front property at whatever price they can afford to use during their projected remaining tenure on earth. This strikes me as a gamble in every direction. And you thought the odds were slim with your lottery ticket. He lamented the philosophy of those who spend money on what they can enjoy right now, leaving the problems that might ensue to the next generation.

         I try to avoid looking at scary things before going to sleep at night, but succumbing recently to the temptation, I looked up the projections for the U.S. coastal areas over the next decades. It turns out the best place to move if you love the sea, is Oregon, Washington, or parts of Maine. Forget winter warmth, we have hills from which to view the rising tides.

         With regards to his church, my colleague was perfectly clear that sooner or later the church will wash away. The congregation understands that their next capital campaign may be to rebuild the church. As Christians we face bracing realities, challenges from within, and from without. Nevertheless, we confront them without fear. Years ago after Hurricane Katrina I visited the coast of Mississippi near New Orleans. There I observed a bell tower and spire not unlike our own. The 30 foot wall of water that slammed the coast, yanked the church out from underneath the spire with such velocity that the steeple returned squarely upright on the concrete foundation. The people of this faith community remained undaunted and unafraid. Their church vanished, they set up chairs in the parking lot from which they rose singing every Sunday, with glad and grateful hearts for our generous and never-changing God.

         Turn on any version of the news and you’ll hear enough scary stories to keep you sleepless in the watches of the night.: Unless you’re a Christian. Then remember the reassurances of the Psalms.

         “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change…”

Prayer: Help us Holy One, to face the challenges of this day unafraid, for you are our God, our rock, and our Redeemer.


God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Pastor Verlee