The point is, the glacier once used to fill most of the valley as it snakes down the left hand corner of the photo. It is melting away as the world heats up.
Sure there is a lot of snow in this photo, but these are our highest mountains (including Aoraki (Mt Cook) the highest peak in the upper right hand corner of the photo). Generally (until a storm this past weekend) our skifields have been unusually short of snow through June and early July.
Some reading on the plane as we crossed the Tasman alerted me to the scenario we Christians do not always want to contemplate, that unity may be forced on us (speaking of humanity generally) by calamity.
So far the world is not particularly united on anything, and definitely not on collective action to mitigate climate change. (Including, I acknowledge, as a recent flyer, action to stop air travel).
But, do recent heatwaves and high average temperatures mean we are closer than ever to climate change calamity and thus nearer to the possibility of humanity being pressed to unify on what we will do?
If the gospel is as Masure says (on my sidebar), that is, "Fundamentally the Gospel is obsessed with the idea of the unity of human society.", then Christians are always keen on unity - our common mindedness, our fellowship, our common life - and must reckon that a wake up call sounded by cataclysm does have at least one benefit, pressing humanity to set aside differences and work for the common good.
Speaking of such unity, I noticed a Tweet by Australian biblical scholar Michael Bird this week which fits the theme of this post:
"Just realized that Rom 15:5-6 is a perfect summary of Phil 2:1-11.“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 15:5-6)."
Romans 15:5-6 comes at the end of Paul's great passage through Romans 14 on how his readers might unite despite strong differences over eating food offered to idols. That is, Paul is not setting out an ideal unity in Christ without reference to the reality of sharp division.
Having engaged with the sharp division, offered a way forward out of it, he prays for the Roman Christians for that which he also seeks for the Christians in Philippi, a unity of attitude to one another and of shared Christ-mindedness among the body of Christ which draws on the example of Christ himself.
If the chief end of humankind is the glory of God, then the implication of the last part of 15:6 is that we may not have capacity to glorify God when we have not unity!
None of us wishes the world to reach cataclysm, yet that is where we are heading, ironically because we cannot and will not motivate ourselves to find common cause on a means of avoiding cataclysm.
Of course, implicit in Romans 15:5-6 and Philippians 2:1-11, is the sobering point that if the world is to be unified, the church is to be a signpost and a model of that unity.
I need say nothing further about whether the signpost points in the right direction or the model is functioning well.