I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; a fact my very soul knows well. Psalm139.14
A Word of Hope
There are a few things on this earth that could be described as both horrifying and beautiful at the same time. What I’m describing as “horrifying and beautiful” came from someone’s Facebook comment regarding the tornadoes that hit the Dallas, Texas area in October.
I’m no longer surprised at the theology in the observations some folks casually post. “Prayers answered. We’re safe” was one such standard comment. In the same manner, that is again, both horrifying and beautiful. Beautiful in that we are grateful to be without injury, loss of property, or at the very least to be alive. Horrifying; in thinking that some were spared while others may have lost everything, suffered injury, could have lost family and or friends, and perhaps their own lives. The last thing indicating that God would somehow choose some lives over others, as some in Christian Broadcasting would choose in redefining our Abba God as the angry parent ‘eye-for-an-eye’ Old Testament Judge.
This is not the kind of God nor theology I think about as our “loving Creator” of the universe; our Big Bang spark, singularity, or even the mystery we might have come to personify through anthropomorphic projection; giving human attributes to the God we create in our own image. I ask what does “prayers answered; we’re safe” mean to someone who might be questioning their beliefs or contemplating the origin of everything? It’s ironic to me that we can destroy faith while supposedly wanting to create it.
That kind of projection doesn’t stop there. In the same manner we sometimes give the tornado some kind of personality and free will. “It decided to take a different path” as if it chooses what to destroy and spare all at once.
As a Christian, one might conclude God herself created a living, breathing planet. There are things about it that are complete mysteries to us while there are also things that are both beautiful and horrifying without other explanation needed, as we observe the elegant, curvy shape of a funnel cloud that causes such tremendous devastation along its path. It creates a spot for new creation, while we mourn the loss.
We are reminded of volcanoes that destroy with beautifully hued red-hot orange lava, while creating new landmasses as seen in our mostly livable Hawaiian Islands, or our Yosemite National Park. But the park is still terrifying as we wait for its imminent explosive destruction, on a day we can’t pinpoint. All these things represent the highly mathematical organization of how our living planet “creates” its future.
As I write this on an incredibly bright day, with no clouds, after nature’s tornado has become a memory, I’m inviting you to be in awe and wonder of the beauty around us that is about life and love; to be grateful for this incredible gift we share together everyday. What will you do to help those who may have lost something in life’s storm? What are you grateful for today in your possessions or the people you love that were untouched? How can we create a better future together?
May we understand the true loving nature of God in the miracle of being alive on our planet at its perfect angle, it’s perfect relation to the Sun and our Moon, while not attributing blame to God for allowing our living planet to both create and destroy.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare