In the Book of Acts, the apostle Paul traveled on a cargo ship on his way to Rome to appeal his innocence to Caesar. Because of the time of year of the voyage, it was known there was a certain amount of risk involved. Paul warned against making the voyage, but was overruled by the decision-makers.
We must run aground upon some island
The ship was caught in a great storm. Despite the efforts of the crew, they despaired for their lives. At this point, Paul addressed the crew and passengers:
“After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” (Acts 27:21-26, New International Version)
The book of Acts reports the ship ran aground on the island of Malta, and was destroyed. However, all 276 of the crew and passengers survived the shipwreck.
An iron bell is ringing
I share this Bible story because of what we contemplated at the 2018 Encampment of the New Message from God. We contemplated a “New World reality.” Humanity faces a future of declining resources, affected climate, environmental degradation and extraterrestrial intervention. As I pondered this New World reality, I heard the words of Paul in my mind’s ear. “We must run aground upon some island.” These words ring like a large iron bell in my head.
I realize this may seem very negative. But I wonder some things. I think other people wonder them. Is humanity’s pattern of resource consumption and environmental impact sustainable? Doesn’t any species that grows without limit die in its own poisons? “We must run aground upon some island.” I take consolation that the crew and passengers survived the shipwreck. I take hope and determination that humanity will survive its future challenges.
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