News of the U.S. arrival of The Murder Hornet last week set social media ablaze with comments like “What’s next? Frog Blizzards?”
At the moment there are still locusts in East Africa and Asian Carp in the United States both eating their body weight in human food sources. And then there’s COVID. Some people say that God is punishing us for everything from corporate greed to same sex marriage.
Does God continue to make statements through Jumanji-esque plagues? Does God speak through weather?
- Gay people get blamed for a lot of natural disasters with the assumption that God is angry . . . so therefore: earthquakes, fires, and storms.
- The rainy Inauguration Day of 2017 in Washington, DC was proof to some that God was not pleased.
One of the truest lines in scripture is this one:
Sun and rain can both be good and not so good for people, but everybody gets both. And that line comes after the whole “love your enemies” part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I’m guessing there were some Very Good People who died during the Egyptian plagues, condemned only by the fact that they lived in North Africa.
I remember voting on a hot topic at a Presbytery meeting once and – just before the momentous vote – tornado sirens went off and everybody huddled towards the middle of the church sanctuary away from the windows. Was God expressing a vote against the proposal? Was God expressing a vote for the proposal?
So here’s the thing about God and “plagues” – those plagues touch the righteous and the unrighteous. When people tell me that AIDS was God’s comment on Gay People, I remind them that lesbians were barely impacted by HIV. So does God prefer lesbians to gay men? (I don’t think so, for the record.)
I believe that human beings contribute to the world’s plagues in that climate change is something humans have ignored. Can we agree too that human greed spreads pandemics? Are there far-reaching consequences for failing to treat each other with respect and compassion? A big yes.
AND it’s also true that grace abounds and God loves even God’s enemies in some deep cosmic way. (God so loved the world – not God’s favorite parts of the world.)
Here’s a really life-giving thing to remember: God created science and scientific minds and scientific breakthroughs. Human beings tend to muck things up quite well. But God intends creation – including the creation of new formulas, new vaccines, new understandings – to be used for good.
[Side Note: Jonas Salk did not become rich from creating his polio vaccine because he was creating it for all people to benefit without cost. I’m guessing that some corporation will become enormously rich when a COVIC-19 vaccine becomes available. Does this make baby Jesus cry? I imagine so.]
The world spins and God continues to create and the sun continues to rise and the rain continues to fall on the just and the unjust. We are not puppets. God has created us to love each other and even to pray for those who persecute us. We tend not to obey this commandment even on our best days.
It would be so much easier if all the evil people were stung by Murder Hornets and all the good people would have natural immunity against Murder Hornets. My hunch, though, is that all of us would be in for a rude awakening if this was how God set things up.
It might feel like somebody started a Jumanji Game these days. But it wasn’t God.
We need to clean up our act.
Image of a Murder Hornet who decapitates honey bees. And also – have you noticed how Asia gets blamed for all the bad insects and fish and viruses? What is wrong with us, people?