There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky…
…By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
You will notice in the Gospel today, a reference to earthquakes. We have had our fair share of them. Throughout history earthquakes have been a wake-up call for drowsy believers. I wonder if our Christchurch quakes have opened our eyes to the realities of life.
You will remember the first days after the September 4 quake. Even the Prime Minister and our city mayor (neither of whom profess Christian belief) were speaking of a “miracle” that there was no loss of life and inviting us to “count our blessings”.
Bishop Barry Jones was interviewed on TV news. He commented that the fact that there was no loss of life in the quake is certainly a “wonder of the world.”
Did you stop to savour the miracle or count the blessings? Did you take time to ponder this 2010 wonder of the world? Perhaps our focus shifted immediately went to rebuilding and recovery.
Our ancestors in Faith saw every event, indeed every moment, as a sign. The bountiful harvest was the sign that God was bestowing His gifts. The sunrise in the morning was the direct daily action of God providing light and life. The flood and earthquake served to refocus people on the life of God. The Sunday after an earthquake our lapsed ancestors would have filled the Church to once again know the favour of God.
But now the sunset at the end of the day is no longer seen as a gift from the God who loves us, inviting us to rest. Instead the lights of the city come on and the clubs burst into rhythm. At home the TV in the bedroom and computer on the dining table blur the boundaries between work and sleep. The voice of God in the rhythm of nature and human relationship has become passé and routine.
And in this blur of activity we miss the voice of God. Of course this would not be a problem if we were all blissfully happy on this earth. But the reality is that most of us do struggle. We have difficulty meeting our obligations to family, workplace and friends. We never seem to have enough money. Even the happiness provided by human joys has become fleeting, lasting only until the next crisis bring another dose of stress.
Our Faith gives us the courage and the confidence to perservere. Our only sure foundation is God.