I can’t believe that many people need to be convinced that we live in a fragile and unpredictable world.
Can any of us have the imagination to enter in to the fears and terror of those two million people who are fleeing their homes as Hurricane Gustav nears New Orleans. And so soon after putting their lives together after the last devastation!
Perhaps we remember that in 2005, three quarters of New Orleans was flooded by a storm surge that claimed more than 1,800 lives in coastal areas.
From my perspective of faith, there are all kinds of questions which demand to be asked. I understand why so many people believe that it is impossible to affirm that God is all loving and all powerful in a world so unpredictable as ours. However, I find it even more incredible that any theological sense can be made out of the reality of a world which has within it a measure of sheer unpredictability and chaos.
I prefer a more tentative, open and speculative approach to these matters. Best not to search for meaning where no meaning can possibly exist. Best not to imagine a God that can pull strings and arbitrarily decides to intervene in one part of the creation and not another. This is not agnosticism but a humble realism that there is so much about the world that we do not comprehend.
So our thoughts and prayers turn to all those whose lives will surely be devastated by the forces of nature. We hope and pray that under God’s guidance, the human spirit will conquer and that courage, patience and goodness will prevail and I hope too that for people of faith, our prayers will be accompanied by practical and material support.