Perhaps you have noticed (as the Pope would say, “No?”) the little natural indicators.
There’s weather: Storm after storm, across North America. The Japanese recording their hottest temperature ever. London forecast to exceed its July records and fighting an onslaught of rats. Expanding wildfires in the American West (now an annual event), along with the rattling of quakes off the Oregon coast. And what would it be like without a “blood moon” Friday (projected to be the longest lunar eclipse of the century, if that has any bearing)?
How many times, of late, have we heard that term “biblical proportion”? Yet, there is a strange quiet out there. Nearly a silence. Indifference. Discouraged by Church matters, we are consumed with money, politics, entertainment, and cell phones. The silence before a storm?
Of particular note: long-term trends. The Southwest is now in a drought that is beginning to draw comparisons to the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Ancestral ice cellars melting in Alaska, as is Arctic permafrost (causing telephone poles to collapse and asphalt to buckle).
And speaking of “biblical,” there is the Holy Land.
The Dead Sea is in retreat, in the same way religion is in retreat, with tourists forced to get rides now to its more distant shores. The legendary body of saline water is dropping by about three feet a year, its sources diverted for human use — and plagued by erratic rainfall, as everywhere is seeing spasmodic weather.
So too problems at the Sea of Galilee, which is not only diminished but incurring increased salinity. Said the Times of Israel (last year): “Days before tens of thousands of Israelis descend on the Sea of Galilee for the Sukkot holiday, the Water Authority warned that the freshwater lake is at dangerously low levels and expected to reach ‘the lowest level ever recorded.’”
How can there be more poignant “signs of the times” than those in the land Jesus walked? Where Peter fished!
Now, too: the River Jordan — so polluted, where Jesus was baptized, that no one much likes to get near it, instead watching from observation platforms near Galilee as water rodents navigate by.
Water shortages too in Bethlehem.
And flames. As The Times of Israel reports (July 25, 2018): “Firefighters battled a number of large blazes on Wednesday as Israelis sought to stay cool during an intense heatwave that set records for highest recorded temperatures in July. Several large fires broke out in the afternoon at the Horshim Forest in central Israel and the Ahihud Forest in the north, as well as at the Churchill Forest near Nazareth Illit.”
Remarkably, there are even the fabled cedars of Lebanon — dying due to shifts in climate, retreating now only to select cooler highlands.
- “Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.” (Zechariah 11:1, 2)
And so it is… A boulder falling from the Western Wall (as Israel shoots down a Syrian jet).
Times, signs, omens. But have folks stopped watching — and worse, stopped caring about — the reality that exists and speaks to us in blazing array?