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It’s a clear day up here in the Northwest.

Within a few hours’ drive are dozens of beautiful mountains in the Cascade Range, which stretches from British Columbia right out through Washington State. They are beautiful in the spring sunshine! One wonders if they were here prior to the Flood. Possibly not.

There is something scary about these lofty peaks. They are beautiful –but from afar. Twenty years ago in May, Mount St. Helens blew its top. That’s fifty miles from downtown Portland (which has a volcano within its own city limits, according to a recent “Modern Maturity” magazine). Downtown Seattle is fifty miles from spectacular Mount Rainier. These hills are part of the “Ring of Fire” which contains a reported 516 fairly active volcanoes. Mount Baker is nearby; a trip up there early last June revealed very deep snow beside the highway, with news that several lost skiers will probably never be found.

Even though there is also something dangerous as well as somewhat impractical about these hills, snowboarders and skiers seem to find their challenges more and more enjoyable. Their snows are excellent storage places for water. But avalanches are frequent. Earthquakes can occur almost any time. Whole highway sections–and whole towns–have been wiped out by slides and floods. Beyond a certain height nothing grows. And you need all kinds of extra equipment to survive up there.

The point is not to put you off coming here. It is absolutely lovely– while it lasts!

But it will not last. When everything is said and written and done, these hills will remain reminders of the fury of God over human sin. God is not furious by nature. But back before the Flood His fury was aroused by the evil and selfishness of mankind. We cannot fully grasp all that happened during the Flood, but the turmoil and upheaval, as well as the rain, was more than awesome. Devastation came from above and from below!

The real point is that it shall happen again, on an even larger scale. The whole universe will be involved. That’s almost enough to put us off the idea of living or visiting here or anywhere else in creation for any length of time.

Almost enough–except for the fury that was directed somewhere else. As we travel each year through Lent and Easter, we see how the wrath and judgment of God fell on Jesus Christ. God took the catastrophe of sin upon Himself. Every mound and mountain now become reminders of that “green hill far away” where “our dear Lord was crucified, who died to save us all.”

All the earth’s hills presage death and damnation–all except that one, and it holds life!

In 1997 Hollywood came out with the movie “Volcano” with LA as its setting. The movie’s cast of heroes pretty well stems the disaster. Funny how people think they can avoid or evade or check the fury of God. Sometimes it seems to work. But the Day is coming when only one thing will work.

That’s why we cling to the Gospel now, go to hear it and receive it in the Sacrament as often as we can. For we do not want to lose the protection God gives against that Day.

And therein is real beauty.

–Pastor Warren Fanning