September 7, 2022
The mind boggles at the environmental disasters that are dominating the news, the worst of all, at present, the flooding in Pakistan. It’s hard to comprehend the desperation of hundreds of thousands of mainly rural farmers, workers, and young families living on ribbons of roads, surrounded by brown water that continues to rise, without food, shelter, or anyone to help.
They are already sick, tortured by exposure to the elements, and hopeless as they try to imagine a future when the waters finally recede. Their mud homes are gone, their fields ruined, and all infrastructure, as basic as it was, totally destroyed. One wonders if this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of Pakistan’s already shaky viability as a functioning state.
It’s the vulnerability of life on this planet that confronts us. Natural disasters can destroy life with no regard for privilege or poverty. Think of the fatal flooding in 1927 that swamped the southern USA destroying everything and forcing the migration of hundreds of thousands of share croppers to the north and east- a catastrophe still reverberating in America’s fraught race relations to this day.
Or consider record breaking heat waves that are drying out the world’s great rivers like the Rhine in Germany, the Yangtze in China, or the Colorado in the States.
One could go on and on. But I think the common prayer, “Lord have mercy”, may be on our lips these days. We’re dependent. Vulnerable. Small. We need help. The words of the classic hymn come to mind,” O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come…”.