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'Acts of God' - disasters beyond human control

Rev. Mark Wagschal
Reverend of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Bridgewater.

 At one time, events such as Hurricane Juan were described as "acts of God." Plagues, earthquakes, tidal waves, typhoons and floods - any disaster that was beyond the ability of humans to control - were all called "acts of Gods."

 If the disaster is particularly large and bad, it may also be labelled, "of biblical proportions." So, Hurricane Juan striking Halifax might be labelled "an act of God of biblical proportions." In Bridgewater, the storm was less severe, perhaps only "an act of God of epic proportions."

 I wonder what God thinks when God is given the responsibility for every natural disaster and the use of the Holy Bible is limited to large, often offensive, events.

 True, the Bible does describe some large and disastrous events brought about by God (Noah and the flood, for instance). But none of these events were beyond human control! There was always an option for people to turn to God and avert disaster.

 Even more, though, the Bible is full of much smaller activities that bring about God's guidance and blessings for people. For Christians, the birth of one small baby to a couple of previously unknown Galilean villagers was one of the greatest acts of God.

 One mealtime prayer begins, "All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above." This is a truer guide to seeing the "acts of God" in our lives. The opening of a door, the jar of peanut butter given to the food bank, attendance at worship, the smile that lifts one's spirit - these are "acts of God." These are "of biblical proportions."

 Open your eyes to the acts of God of biblical proportions. They are happening around you every day. They are worth celebrating. The mealtime prayer I quoted above ends, "So thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all God's love." Let us be thankful for the many acts of God in our lives and be agents for God to act in the lives of all of our neighbours.

  October 29, 2003  
 
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