Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moore, OK: Don't Call It an Act of God

Insurance companies lump tornadoes into a category called "Acts of God." But don't believe it. The tornado in Moore, OK, wasn't an act of God.

Of course, we know that we cannot control the weather. Dramatic weather, along with the tragic results we have seen yesterday that often comes with it, appears out of the clear blue with little warning and, in this case, not much ability to protect oneself. Forecasters said moments before the tornado tore through town that unless you were under ground, you weren't safe from this two-mile-wide tornado. That certainly proved true, tragically true, as the count of the dead continues to rise.

Whenever we experience devastation that is beyond our control, we are tempted to reach for explanations. In some cases we want to find someone to blame. In other cases we want some kind of assurance as a hedge to our faith. Or maybe we just feel like we need to say something to the hurting because we are uncomfortable, which is perhaps an ultimate act of selfishness.

People of faith - particularly the Christian faith - need to understand that while the rest of the world (including a big slice of Christianity) may use God to explain what has happened, we mustn't. We mustn't, because it isn't true. We mustn't tell lies.

If I were to say anything today about this, it would simply be this: My heart breaks...breaks for so many people on so many levels. My heart breaks. And I believe God's does too.

Lord of Compassion and power, be with those who have survived this disaster; minister to their needs of mind and spirit, body and circumstance; help those who are hurt; give peace to the dying; comfort and support the bereaved; and to all who are working to bring relief and restore order, give strength and resilience to do their work well; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (From Chalice Worship)