19 January 2020
Getting our pirorities
The picture said it all.
Dome hut almost buried in the aftermath of a sudden eruption. The hut door which mercifully opened inward showing where two climbers had escaped..
Brave rescuers, the snowcat driver who himself has just escaped a lahar pouring down the mountain, who must have had the adrenalin still pounding through him. The team assembled and quickly moving into place and a young man rescued from imminent death.
Down the mountain, where holidaymakers were evacuated in the night, a girl reported as saying she was devastated that they could not ski that day.
The eruption came without warning, the sense of being able to control the mountain by knowing when it would let off steam , went, and I am reminded that here in Auckland we live in a volcanic area, where the restless earth will [not maybe we are told by the geologists] one day release the force of a new volcano.
I guess we canít live everyday worrying about the geology of our city, but I cannot help thinking we also have a huge capacity to think we control our environment and forget who we are and how little we know about our world and the way it works.
The media desensitizes us to the truly heroic acts and events, which are in circumstances which require action without being able to be certain of the outcome, only the certainty of what will happen if we donít act. We are fed with so many images of indestructible bulletproof superheroes that the real human heroes [and heroines] can look colourless and vulnerable. I did not get the impression that the girl who was devastated at missing skiing that day really understood the power of the mountain and that scientists only observe, and do not have any means to control.
The bible warns us about the chaos created when we think we are in control and forget God. We are given us stories of real humanity. Vulnerable people, who were brave, and weak, were tempted and resisted temptation, who sinned and repented, who held grievances and who forgave. Some stories terrible and cruel, others of deep redemption and peace. People who knew they did not control the universe. People who came to realization that is the grace and love of God who finally sustains us in our humanity and holds us in community.
That picture of Dome Hut, reminds us of our physical vulnerability to the elements, of the tenacity and bravery of humans who care, of the skills and gifts of the medical help given and of thankfulness for the saving of lives. It is also a good news story and when there is good news we are reminded be thankful for all that we can so easily take for granted.
And if you heart lifted when you heard that all were safe and alive on Ruapehu, how much more should our thanks be when we remember the story of Jesus, who as a vulnerable human faced the power of human violence and death and showed Godís yes to life for everyone. God in our humanity with us, in that hut where life was ebbing out, in the pain and in the joy of living. Let our thanks be to God. Who made us and does not let go of us.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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