Sunday, February 27, 2011

"We serve a Lord who has let us down twice"

Anglican Down Under: Improvising

Anglican blogger in Christchurch, New Zealand grapples with the big questions after the earthquake.

"How do those who name Christ as Lord and Saviour bear witness in this crisis? We serve a Lord who, on the face of it, has let us down not once but twice. The gospel in a nutshell could be described as 'the best is yet to be' but right now life has gone from bad to worse. Certainly we need to draw on our experience of lament and find new resources as one body of Christ in mission to our fellow citizens. How do we sing the Lord's song in a place of terror where over twenty people have died in our cathedral and another three people in Durham St Methodist church?

We may need to improvise in our theology. Dig deep into Scripture, mining Lamentations, Habbakuk and Revelation for words from God which address calamity and crisis. This is a time for faith like that found in Israel and on Patmos. When human sight suggested evil was present and God was absent, faith obstinately refused to let go of the idea that the God of Israel existed and remained committed to fulfilling covenant and promise."

Read it all and don't miss the picture and description of a funeral under the current conditions there.


The Underground Pewster said...

"Improvise in our theology?"

Disasters and their interpretation have been a theological concern for a long time. Yes, dig into it and find what we have forgotten.

We forget our Lord faced the same questions.

"Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?"

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the Lord has let us down. I can't claim to understand why tragedies like the earthquake in Christchurch has happened, but at the same time, I don't believe that God causes these tragedies either. I do believe that God is there, with the victims, the survivors. He was there with the person trapped in the rubble, as well as with the family members grief stricken at the loss of their loved one, or not knowing.

I do believe that God expects us not to wait for miracles to happen, but to help our fellow man, suffering through the many travails and hardships, as we were called to be our brother's keeper, and not just when a celebrity talks about it, or it's an event half the world away, but those instances of tragedy and hardship in our neighborhood. The homeless, and hungry in our own communities. The men and women who right now are facing another night out in the bitter cold.

TLF+ said...

I have to agree, Pewster, the "improvise theology " phrase troubled me, too. I think he's really saying, "improvise prayerfully and liturgically" to use God-given language of lament.

"Turn your steps toward the endless ruins; the enemy has laid waste everything in your sanctuary" (Psalm 74:3) and other such passages are what the church needs to offer up on behalf of the people. We don't have a ready answer and turning the questions toward God, in the language of prayer that God has provided, seems the right thing to do.

Anonymous, I don't think the author of the piece believes it, either. He speaks the gut reaction of the people. I don't know if you caught my post a few days ago, but NZ raised a bunch of money to send to the quake victims in Haiti, as an expression of thanks to God that nobody died in NZ's earthquake last Sept. And now another quake comes, kills and destroys them?

Yeah, they must felt let down. As Jeremiah said to God, "Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?" (15:18)