One of the joys of living in a new country is that wild places still exist. Not every river is tamed. You do not have the delusion that you are in control of this world.
New Zealand is geologically new. As a result, we have active volcanoes, earthquakes — the 5.8 we had last week is considered minor, as we know that when the alpine fault goes (and it does every 50 odd years) it will be 7 — 8 on the Richter scale.. Our nearest neighbour, Australia, is geologically stable — but has an ecosystem that is based on bushfires.
So we know that our houses can be destroyed in an instant. It will be time to run. To leave it all. So Christ, describing (at least) the Roman sack of Jerusalem, is not using hyperbole.
20“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; 22for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written. 23Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; 24they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near
The second paragraph interests me. Because, in this enlightened age, there are people who see that pagan “prophecies” call for the end of the world, and the Green Taliban require a sense of impending doom to drive us, in fear, to ascribe to their rules, regulations and schemes. They want ‘people to be fainting with foreboding of what will come upon them’.
Ignore this noise. Ignore the fashion to be green — the true greens are those who conserve culture and the habits of frugality — and be prepared. Yes, you may have to leave. Yes it is a good idea to have staples in your pantry to feed you for a week and another way of cooking (it is called a barbecue) that does not depend on piped gas or electricity, because our infrastructure can break.
(And yes, do build on something that has strength. There is a reason my house sits on a hunk of basalt made in an extinct volcano).
But we are not to be afraid of the fantasies projected onto us by the documentary channel and the green fanatics. We are told to remain confident: our salvation is in Christ and our true home is with him.
Let the pagans fear. We need to keep things running when disasters come — which they can and will. That is the time to open up our halls and pantries, to feed and shelter. It is the government from which, at times, we need to flee.