I’m an auntie! More on that later. On the way to and from the hospital to see my nephew, I drive along a country highway, dotted with several large estates and ranches.
What you notice as you pass are the iron gates, large houses, softly rolling green hills, cattle, pristine estate grounds and long drives, and the signs. Those houses all have signs up right now. STOP THE LANDFILL, they say. The signs are large, professional, and look costly.
I can’t help but think about the “sides” of this landfill issue. I wouldn’t want a landfill in my backyard, either. I wouldn’t want my groundwater potentially compromised by rainwater runoff over mounds of trash. I wouldn’t want the stench. On the other hand, landfills have to go somewhere, right?
Who should bear the brunt of the landfill?
Those who produce the most waste?
Those who can’t afford to stop the initiative?
Who deserves to live in a landfill-free environment?
Those who pay the most for their houses?
Those who bear the lion’s share of property taxes?
Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”
Reading those signs, I couldn’t help but feel that, as human beings, we know our waste, our excess, our sin, will come back to haunt us, but like the Pharisees, we also believe we can keep the facade looking clean and pristine and avoid the consequences.
We might try to hide it away in someone else’s area. We might try to slap a new coat of paint on it. We could rebrand and repackage it. We could recycle it or shoot it into space. We can’t seem to eliminate it, though, not through all our efforts.
No one wants a landfill in their backyard. No one wants to live in their own waste. No one wants the consequences of their sin to pile up and over their fences and spill into their flower beds.
If your sin were represented by a mound of trash… what is the capital of Assyria? how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? what is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow? look! a baby!!!!
In other words, what absurd things do we do to avoid the punishment of our sin, instead of asking forgiveness and accepting the consequences?