In case you missed it, within the span of a week in August, nature had something to say. From the ecstasy of the eclipse and the horrors of the hurricane, creation repeated an ancient truth.
For those fortunate enough to witness the eclipse, it was a moving moment, a spiritual experience. For that day, our thoughts were not on angry mobs, sparring politicians, or nuclear-armed despots. Our eyes were heavenward as though to see God Himself as the moon made the sun blink. We experienced it together.
The flooding in Texas would not be a disaster if it happened on a deserted island. It happened to people. Uniformed public servants doing their jobs and volunteers with their boats and trucks became neighbors with those who might differ by race, politics, culture, language or income. We are attracted to such heart-warming stories because we know what is good. Our eyes are drawn to people as we try to imagine if we lost our house, possessions, job, or family. We respond together.
Being created in God’s image means we yearn for the sublime and the compassionate. We want to be moved and to care. Don’t the eclipse and the hurricane reveal that? We are humbled and awestruck by the power of that message. God said, “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, or fix their rule over the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that an abundance of water will cover you?” (Job 38:33-34). In the aftermath of these natural events, our hearts soar upward at the majesty of God and our hands reach outward to the victims in Texas. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat. 22:36-38). God and fellow man are our priorities.
A pastor friend says, “On this earth only two things are eternal, the Word of God and the souls of people.” Well said. What matters on this fallen, dangerous, and strife-filled earth is God and what He has said, and people whom He loves. Our fellow human beings matter to us because they matter to God, and we are created in his image.
A pair of natural events a week apart remind us of the two great commandments, to love God and neighbor. Look not upon the things that distract and divide, but those that focus and unite. Find beauty and healing in the world as you pursue the paired purposes of loving God and neighbor. And may God bless the victims of this hurricane season through us, their neighbors.