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Memento Mori ~~ Chuck Colson

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Memento Mori ~~ Chuck Colson

Post  Admin on Tue 03 May 2011, 12:32 pm

Memento Mori
In the Aftermath of the Tornadoes

May 02, 2011 Chuck Colson

"It happened so fast it was unbelievable. ..before I knew it, it was
here." The "it" Jerry Stewart, a retired fireman, was referring to, was
the enormous tornado that leveled Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the
surrounding areas last week.

As terrible as the Tuscaloosa tornado was -- and watching the video, it
looked like one of plagues of Egypt -- it was only part of an outbreak
that killed at least 263 people in six states. It was deadliest outbreak
of tornadoes since 1974, when a storm system in the Midwest killed 315

It is natural to try and make sense of out terrible events such as this.
Some people will see it as a sign of the end times. That's always
speculative. It would be presumptuous to offer definitive lessons, but
there are eternal truths that calamities like this should bring to mind.

The first is that, as theologian David Bentley Hart once put it, we
"exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a primordial catastrophe. "
The result is that "this is a broken and wounded world" and "that the
universe languishes in bondage to 'powers' and 'principalities' --
spiritual and terrestrial -- alien to God."

Thus, the world that is our home, that nourishes and sustains us, can
turn on us, kill us, and destroy the work of our hands, as the people of
Alabama and Japan have recently learned in such a tragic way.

The second lesson is that there is little, if anything, we can do about
it. To think we can control nature or, "heal the planet" (as President
Obama once said in a public address), is folly. For starters, we simply
don't possess that kind of knowledge or power. We can barely warn people
to seek shelter immediately, whether in Japan or Alabama. We're not as
clever as we like to think.

More importantly, creation doesn't need to be "healed," much less
controlled -- it needs to be redeemed. In Romans, the apostle Paul
speaks of creation "groaning," of it being "subjected to frustration"
and in "bondage to decay," a frustration and bondage that will only end
when the children of God are fully revealed. Its destiny and ours are
inextricably intertwined until Christ's return.

The third lesson is about the fragility of human life. On the same day
that hundreds were killed by tornadoes, evangelist and pastor David
Wilkerson died in an automobile accident. The one thing I'm fairly
certain they had in common was that none of them woke up and said,
"Today is the day I will die."

But they did. And some day, so will we. We should live our lives in
light of that fragility. Not in a morbid sense, but as motivation to
love God and our neighbor. We shouldn't go to bed without asking, "Did I
walk as a Child of the Light today? Did I serve Christ in whatever guise
he came to me?"

No one is promised another chance to answer those questions in the
affirmative, so let's get it right today.

Getting it right means, as Hart put it, "[hating] death and waste and
the imbecile forces of chance that shatter living souls."

And it means being in solidarity with those who have been shattered --
by prayer and works of mercy that bind the wounds inflicted by those
imbecilic forces -- always aware that before we know it, we may not have
another chance to do so.

[For further reading, click here]

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