Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Earthquakes, Tsunami, and God

God IS in the tsunami - the power that created the universe made tsunamis. The tectonic plates move so that the land masses can float above the earth's core. The earth will not tear itself apart, which it would do if it had a rigid cover over the molten magma. The resulting earthquakes and tsunamis are inevitable. They are not punishment for sin. They are not intended by the creator for anything other than the balance and well being of the earth.

Building on the beach, cutting down banyan trees to build shrimp farms, forgetting the teaching of those who have been through this before, lack of sharing of resources from the rich to the poor. This is where the sin lies. The tsunami is not a punishment - but there are consequences of not paying attention to the creation. Natural disasters are in the eye of the beholder and the sufferer. The suffering and loss are great and terrible and a part of living on this fragile earth, our island home (BCP p. 370).

I grew up on the Oregon coast by the Pacific Ocean. I know this fearsome side of the creation. The creator God is not tame. God does not intervene in the natural order of the universe. That really would cause chaos. But, like the Israelites in the wilderness, we prefer a golden calf to this wild God.

God is also in the suffering and in the assistance. We know the divine in Jesus is the one who comes among us and lives and dies with us, God who enters into life and shows us how to live here on the earth. We are the hands and arms and bodies of this manifestation of God.

God is in and through all, where we live and move and have our being as it says in the Book of Acts. The Hindu Rig-Veda envisions this as Indra’s Net. The net stretches between heaven and earth and all things are held in it. Each being is a jewel in the net. When one feels joy - all feel joy. When one suffers - all suffer. Christians know this connection as the Spirit which is present in the spaces between us - the web that connects us all as one. We have the job of tending the net - the web of creation.

Is there any lesson in this disaster? I believe the lesson of the tsunami and all natural disasters is we are a part of creation, we are NOT special. We can make a big mess of creation, even destroy it, but I don’t think that is the answer.

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