St Paul's And Holy Cross
As I sit down to write, (in early September), the aftermath of the tragedy which overtook New Orleans and the surrounding area continues to dominate the news. The loss of life, and the behaviour of some will have appalled us: acts of love and compassion will have warmed us, and the call to help not lost on us. It has exposed yet again the vulnerability and fragility of life; a shock to us in the western world, where our sense of competence and ability to control, is perhaps too inflated.
Deep issues lurk beneath the surface, which perhaps we are afraid to address with real seriousness. How is it that God (if God is around, and loves, and is almighty) allow all this? It happens time and time again around the world – this time though a little closer to “home”.
Facts are important: obviously these things happen. Much less understood is that the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, is vastly superior to that for any other figure in Ancient History (what one might expect if this were the ultimate revelation of the Creator to His creatures!). He is to be reckoned with: the Creator’s sacrificial love, uniquely and deeply demonstrated.
Now we know we live on a dynamic planet – it continues to evolve. We also know that how we behave affects it. If we pollute a stream, we kill the fish. We are discovering that the way as the human race we relate together, and thus determine how natural resources are used, impacts upon our climate. Christian faith teaches that the way the human race has flown in the face of the Creator has impacted upon the physical workings of the world! The whole is “out of joint”. If we are given the gifts of creativity and responsibility under the creative genius of God, and we ignore Him, perhaps it should not surprise us when things go tragically wrong.
A child who puts his finger in the fire – ignoring wise parental guidance- does not forfeit a parent’s love, but does get his finger burnt, with consequences all round!
So perhaps events like hurricane Katrina, and all that has gone with it, call us to think seriously about how we relate to our Creator, and suggest that as we are active about doing that better, we might improve the level of love, compassion and care which human society locally and globally so much needs, and so make our world a safer, happier and better place for all. With my greetings, Jim Stevens