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Acts of God

by davesandel on May 9th, 2021

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 9, 2021             (today’s lectionary)

Acts of God

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.

God knows what might happen in a blizzard. And that’s the thing. God knows, I don’t know, and I can’t know. At long last, after a lifetime of pretending to know, I can stop trying. Caught in this act of God, all I can do is suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

A Kindle book on sale yesterday caught my eye. The Blizzard of 1888 describes the “intriguing and amazing stories of life and death in the havoc it wreaked along the East Coast, a readable social history of a great disaster.”

I love reading about blizzards curled up in a blanket in front of the fireplace on a gentle snowy night, or during a summer afternoon storm. In my chair I’m cozy and comfortable, popcorn beside me on the table, a pillow behind my head. The illusion of control is alive and well.

But if I’m in a blizzard, that’s a different story.

If I’m in a blizzard, I might have a rope to pull me homeward through the blinding wind and snow. Or I might not. I might be able to pull off the road and not get plowed into by a big truck. Or I might not. In any case, I no longer suffer under the illusion of control. I’m back to the Garden, living in the original blessing before the original sin. I might die, but I’ll die in my right mind. I’ll die as God’s child, rather than a victim of my own creation.

And that’s why part of me craves the catastrophe, I guess.

In the Garden, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they hid in the middle of the tree. They hid (according to the Hebrew) in the tree from which they ate the fruit. They covered themselves with its leaves, with leaves of the “knowledge of good and evil.”

Then God came looking for them. When they hesitated and then showed themselves, he asked them, “Who told you that you were naked?”

And here, says Dr. Boice in The Life of Moses, God manifests his mercy. “I TOLD YOU!” he tells them. This was my gift to you. It is still my gift to you. You will seek knowledge beyond yourself, which will change your lives in awful ways, but always I will be here, and forgive you. As you recover your nakedness you will no longer be prey to shame. Then you can seek what you are MADE to know, and be happy. Don’t worry, there’s no hurry.

In your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.

So there is something very literal that happens in the blizzard, when I can no longer pretend to be in control and know what to do. It is truly an intriguing and amazing story. In this (or any other) extreme moment of life and death I have no choice, I must return to the moment under the tree in the Garden of Eden, when I can only say, “I’m naked, Lord. Let it be unto me according to your word. I trust you. I love you.”

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.

(Acts 10, Psalm 98, 1 John 4, John 14, 15)

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