May summer grant you a warm, sunny day to grab a lemonade, put your feet up, and do some serious daydreaming.
Neurologists claim that daydreaming is a good habit (except when it makes you ignore important stuff). It activates the part of your brain that helps you solve complex problems. Einstein was a daydreamer. It helped him figure out relativity and quantum mechanics. Imagine what it can do for you as you contemplate the large conundrums of your existence.
Like the end of the world. We know that we’ll all individually “shuffle off this mortal coil,” as Shakespeare delicately put it. But did you know that life en masse will also “buy the farm,” even if global warming doesn’t get us first?
Here are some things you may not know about:
Somewhere in the frigid isolation of the Kuiper belt, a doomsday asteroid has Earth’s name on it. It’s not a question of if it will strike, just when.
Supervolcanoes cause mass extinctions by super-erupting. Yellowstone Park is due to let one rip sometime within the next million years—give or take a few thousand years either way.
Solar flares explode from the sun’s surface, sometimes spitting earth-sized chunks of fiery plasma into space. Chances are we won’t be on the business end of one of those monsters anytime soon. But when we are, goodbye atmosphere!
The moon is moving away from the earth at about an inch (2.54 cm) per year. Sooner or later it will reel off into space and desert us. Not good. The moon stabilizes the earth’s rotation around its axis. That keeps the seasons stable around the globe. Without the moon we won’t survive the long, irregular winters and summers.
Our solar system’s orbit around the galaxy takes us out of the galactic plane every 26 million years or so. When it does, we’re no longer shielded from interstellar radiation, and we fry.
Our sun is some 5 billion years old. It will remain reasonably well-behaved for a few billion more. However, once its store of hydrogen fuel runs low, it will inflate into a red giant, vaporizing our planet.
Not that all this is immediately troubling. The chance of seeing such events during our lifetime or those of our great-grandchildren is minute. But apart from being kind of fun to contemplate in an apocalyptic sort of way (including dreaming up ways our descendents might survive by going to live on Mars or something), these situations could help us muse about Jesus’ promise to return.
Before any of these catastrophes occur, he’ll have made it back. I’ll bet he won’t wait till we’re all, quite literally, toast.
But when he does return, will he still find faith on this planet (Luke 18:8)?
That’s a more immediate concern.
The church isn’t here to save the planet from nature. It’s here to invite our neighbors to give Jesus the faith-filled welcome he deserves when he returns. And in the meantime, it’s here to remind us to care for the good earth as best we can. That, too, makes for the right welcome. Beyond that, Creation’s Lord will solve these minor inconveniences of global cataclysms and exploding suns. Don’t worry about those.