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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

30 May 2010: Bill Grace, Reader, St. Peter’s Church, Petersfield

The Planet Strikes Back!

Our planet is striking back! Surely one of the "Star Wars" movies? Yet to those who live, sometimes fearfully, in earthquake zones, the idea of the earth "striking back" does have some realism.

The idea of a "living" planet exacting a strange revenge on humans who seek to pollute it may seem far-fetched - but the fact is that for year upon year our skies have been criss-crossed by vapour trails, the result of burning aviation fuel. So, it was really ironic that the Icelandic volcano awoke, and ejected a dust, lethal to jet engines. For nearly a week, people living near airports enjoyed a respite from engine noise, and, wonder of wonders, bird song was heard there once more.

"Acts of God" are always, at the least, inconvenient, but also are agents of the most terrible human suffering. We are all very vulnerable, for we need to be constantly reminded that humankind does not have all "answers", despite our so-called scientific expertise. We are merely stewards of our planet, and not the masters. Those who seek to manage our affairs, both global and local, would do well to remember the simple God-given laws of nature. For example, homes built on river flood plains will be flooded (because that is what flood plains are meant to do).

The early hymn writers had a very clear idea of God’s power and of their own vulnerabilty. They expressed it in songs like "O Lord my God, when I in awesome Wonder", still sung by millions around the World, giving God the honour for who He is - The Creator of the Universe.

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