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Calming the Waters: Why We Need to Better Integrate Climate and Water Policy

The story is a metaphor — an illustration — of what Jesus does in our lives. And indeed Jesus does calm the storms of my life. Or maybe the storms of life continue, but we need to trust Jesus anyway. What if he meant us to see the storm as an actual storm, with gale-force winds and foot waves and torrential rain and blinding flashes of lightning?

What if he meant us to see it as a big, wet, life-threatening punch in the face from mother nature? We have, in the modern world, the luxury of looking on nature as benevolent and benign. We should preserve and care for it.

Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-40)

But nature is not always our friend. The Biblical writers understood this to be true.

So the story of creation begins with the wind of God hovering over the face of the waters. To conquer the sea in Genesis, God simply has to speak a word, separating the land from the water. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert. Nature is a both blessing and a threat. It needs to be subdued and ruled.

In Genesis , God gave that role to the men and women he created. The great Exodus of Israel from the land of Egypt also portrays the dangers of the sea.

Mark 4:37-40

The Egyptians pursued the fleeing Israelites and trapped them at the Sea of Reeds. Only a miracle of God could deliver them. A strong wind from God came and turned the sea into dry land — a recapitulation of the act of creation. When the Egyptians pursued the Israelites into the sea, they drowned. Martin Luther cried out to God for deliverance in a storm, starting him on his journey to become a monk. John Wesley feared for his life in a storm as he crossed the Atlantic ocean. Shamed by his lack of faith, he sought the assurance he saw in his Moravian companions. Technology, however, can only do so much.

Even apart from anthropogenic climate change, humans suffer from hurricanes, lightning, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, blizzards, droughts, floods, extremes of cold and heat, and crop failures.

Analysis and Commentary

Those are natural as well. The point is simply this. Humans draw from nature all the things they need to live, but in this present age nature is also a threat. When Jesus calmed a storm with his words, there are echoes of creation and the exodus in his story. They point to an answer to the question posed in the last sentence of the pericope. Who is this? He is the one who created heaven and earth.

He is the one who delivered Israel at the Sea of Reeds. Some sailed over the ocean in ships, earning their living on the seas. They saw what the LORD can do, his wonderful acts in the depths of the seas. Our purpose is to raise public awareness about the importance and fragility of Texas' coastal waters and to educate citizens about ways to save this endangered resource in a state frequently unfriendly to its environment.

Calming The Waters

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