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Greek wildfires described as “the apocalypse”

todayNovember 15, 2022 4

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Approximately ten people have died and thousands have lost their homes as wildfires continue to wreak havoc in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Russia and Albania, as well as in California and other parts of North America. A coastguard official on the Greek island of Evia, Sotiris Danikas, told ERT: “We’re talking about the apocalypse. I don’t know how to describe it.”

Why is the world on fire?

While some Christians believe these fires are God’s judgement for our sin (citing examples from the Bible, such as Numbers 16:35), it’s more likely that heatwaves and drought are the root cause. Experts have suggested that greenhouse gas emissions are causing the global temperature increase, and that wildfires are likely to become more prevalent unless urgent action is taken. As well as causing loss of human life and livelihood, these fires are having a devastating effect on the world’s wildlife.

What can we do to help?

The first thing we can do is pray for those who have been affected by the fires.

  1. Pray that the fires will stop and that rain will come. The same God who brought rain for Elijah (see 1 Kings 18:41-5) can do so in these areas.
  2. Pray for the families who have lost loved ones. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
  3. Pray for those who have lost land, property and livelihoods. We know from the book of Job that God can restore all that has been lost.
  4. Pray for God’s creation that it will thrive again. The Bible tells us he made everything and will continue to sustain it (see Isaiah 42:5).
  5. Pray for wisdom about looking after our world well. Adam and Eve were given dominion over the Earth right from the beginning (Genesis 1:26), and it is our responsibility to take care of everything God created so perfectly.

Second, think of practical ways we can help those who have been affected. Can we raise money? Can we send vital supplies or support a charity that does? Can we go ourselves to help? Can we urge the government to send more firefighters and equipment to stop the blazes in Europe and beyond?

Third, we can think about ways we might be contributing to the climate crisis ourselves. Could we consume less? Think petrol, energy, water and clothing. Can we mend and reuse things rather than throwing them away? Could we recycle items that are no longer usable? Can we buy goods locally from sustainable growers and manufacturers? Can we be more responsible about the way we travel? Everyone has a part to play here, however big or small.

Fourth, take action. Read as much as you can about climate change. Petition your local MP and join local groups that are passionate about preserving the Earth and all that is in it. Don’t rely on others to do this. As Christians, we should be at the forefront of positive change.

Finally, while this may not be the actual apocalypse, events like this should remind us of our eternal salvation and our duty to tell others about the God who saves. Pray that those around us would be baptised “with the Holy Spirit and with fire” – the spiritual kind – as Jesus promised in Luke 3:16.

Written by: Steven Grimmer

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