Strange Juxtapositions

The room from which I’m writing right now in Canada looks south.  The beauty out the bay window is more than stunning; the beauty almost makes me ache.  Crisp golden leaves dancing in the wind as clouds envelope Vancouver island to the east, and waves whitecap the sound, while the other sound is rain hitting the window.

Then I open my computer to post, and right after I’m finished posting about his beauty, and the good God behind it, I read the news of the shootings at Fort Hood.  I don’t know details, other than twelve dead, but I’m shaken from this isolated island of peace and sanity, reminded that creation groans, and that darkened hearts open fire.  I won’t go into a tirade about war because I happen to believe there’s a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3), but I’ll say this much:  Behind the curtain of patriotism, and behind the bravado of ‘will to win’ and all that entails, men and women are walking through hell for this ‘objective’.  I don’t know answers, so don’t misread me.  I’m not sitting in judgement on our previous president or our present one.  But my God… we need wisdom, and even more important than that, we need the humility to recognize the we need wisdom.

Where does this humility come from?  It comes from seeing.  I hope, I pray, our leaders will look hard; hard enough to see what they don’t know.  Only then will they look for new wisdom, and I thoroughly believe that it’s the new wisdom, which isn’t really new at all, that we need as a nation right now – God help us.  Maranatha.

It’s still lovely outside – but this juxtaposition of beauty and tragedy?  I want to close the blinds OR turn off the news.  And yet, this is our world, and I pray we’ll learn to live here, better and better.

PLEASE POST YOUR PRAYERS….

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • Kristi

    Rereading Father Zossima’s sermons this evening:

    “One may stand perplexed before some thought, especially seeing men’s sin, asking oneself: ‘Shall I take it by force, or by humble love?’ Always resolve to take it by humble love. If you so resolve once and for all, you will be able to overcome the whole world. A loving humility is a terrible power…” (319)

  • Kyle

    I’ve been reading Ecclesiastes this week, and one piece of that familiar passage in chapter 3 hit me hard: “a time to mourn and a time to dance”. There are countless reasons to mourn, especially this week (a fallen SPD officer, arson attacks and the shooting at Ft. Hood), but there will be a time to dance. It’s a hopeful juxtaposition.

  • Kevin

    I am afraid that without a moment of island tranquility, the gunshots that rang out from Ft. Hood were almost indistinguishable from the riotous violence that mars this world every day. This is not to say that the punctuated horror of the shooting is somehow diminished by a steadily rising tide of chaos, but for the heart of one watching this all unfold–and this heart, in particular–it feel as though we have been anesthetized. Senseless violence on a grand scale has simply become part of the landscape of our lives, so when asked to respond with tender prayers I wonder if I have any honest tenderness left to bring.

    Over the next week or so, the perpetrator of this crime will be thoroughly digested by the media and his motivations eroded by waves of popular psychiatry, and in the end he will likely be remembered as nothing more than a madman. For now, though, it seems that this man could simply not live with the idea of going back into the hell of war. It is an ever increasing reality that our soldiers are feeling the crushing weight of carrying out this war, the dehumanizing force that has already caused over one-half-million civilian casualties since it began. One in every eight soldiers that return from the conflict are diagnosed with PTSD, and it is now touted as more likely for a member of the United States Military to commit suicide than a plain-clothes, American citizen. While many choose to end their pain in grief and solitude, this man chose a far more vicious and volatile path. While I cannot forgive his actions I also cannot understand them. What horrors did he know? What horrors do all of our soldiers know? Is this simply the reality of six years of war spilling over into our world? Were our hearts rent for the 136 that were killed in a car bombing two weeks ago, in Baghdad?

  • Hannah

    And it’s still raining
    why God?
    I know rain makes things grow
    why not some other way if you are God?
    And it’s still raining
    why God?
    I know people have free will
    why not stop them if you are God?
    And it’s still raining
    when will this end?
    And it’s still raining
    you are in control
    and it’s still raining
    you want nothing but good for us
    and it’s still raining
    and it’s still raining……..

  • Linda

    Our Father in Heaven, I pray you would comfort and strenghten Your people who were affected by the evil committed by this terrorist at Fort Hood. And in Your mercy use this evil event and all evil acts to show all people that Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is our only hope of having peace with You. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.


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