The news hasn't been good lately, has it? Maybe the unrelenting news cycles exaggerate the effect but it is unnerving to the kids in my classes. This is from May 6, 2007.
We had a record when I was a child, a collection of great moments in radio history. Mostly, it was classic programs but there was also a section on historic news broadcasts. I only remember one. Seventy years ago today, the Hindenburg, a state of the art German dirigible, exploded as it prepared to dock in New Jersey. Cameras were rolling as was the radio play-by-play of Herb Morrison. I still recall his horrified cry from the record; "It burst into flames!" Morrison kept broadcasting as the largest aircraft ever constructed was incinerated in a minute, ending the lives of thirty-six passengers and spectators. Morrison's haunting wail of, "Oh, the humanity!" could be a synopsis of the human condition.
In recent weeks, there have been reminders that little has changed in the seven decades since the pride of the Nazi air fleet was destroyed. In March, the Bluffton College baseball team was decimated in a spring break bus accident while driving through Atlanta. Three weeks back saw the rampage on the campus at Virginia Tech. Two nights ago, a mammoth tornado obliterated the village of Greensburg, Kansas, killing nine and flattening 95% of the town. It makes you nervous just to turn the television or computer on. What next?
And yet, it isn't new. In Luke 13, Jesus was confronted by the news that the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, had savagely mixed the blood of some of Jesus' fellow Galileans with their animal sacrifices. Maybe those that brought it up were trying to dissuade the Messiah from going to Jerusalem where Pilate was ruling or perhaps they were trying to get Jesus to publicly bash the barbaric Roman. Jesus did neither. He made no political statement and he was not dissuaded from his ultimate fate which was linked to the main city of Israel. What he did was speak of the condition of men's souls.
"Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." (Luke 13:2,3)
Jesus then introduced the tragedy in Jerusalem where eighteen Israelites lost their lives when a tower at Siloam collapsed and fell on them. He repeated his you too will perish warning verbatim as he discussed what the crowd probably considered an Act Of God. His listeners were disturbed about attacks and calamities to the body while the Savior focused on the condition of the soul. The only solution was repentance. That hasn't changed. Horrific catastrophes have been unfolding since the clock began ticking. Good people and bad people have suffered alike in seemingly random assaults on God's favorite part of creation. The body dies; the only question is when. With no expiration date, the soul is in it for the long haul. We need to have ours ready. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. The next disaster is right around the corner.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Only after disaster can we be resurrected."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org