Winds, winds, rising waters and rushing winds

Winds, winds, rising waters and rushing winds.

There are nearly 100 million people in the Philippines wondering what has happened to their country in the last week. About 90 million of them are Christians. So my guess is that there are a whole load of Christians in the Philippines asking the Why question. “Why would God let this happen?” And elsewhere on the planet there are a lot of non-Christians saying, “There, look at that, there can’t be a God if that can happen, or certainly not a loving God”.

Good questions. Questions which imply three things about God:
1. There isn’t a God;
2. There is a God but He is distant and uncaring;
3. There is a God, and He may be near at hand and He may even be caring, but he is not powerful.

Richard Dawkins thinks there isn’t a God. But his explanation is deeply distressing to those who are suffering: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication some people are going to get lucky and some people are going get hurt and we won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, Nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” (River out of Eden, A Darwinian View of Life). Just charming.

On the other hand many religions and world views believe there is a God but he is distant. Let us offer up sacrifices and beg and hope that he might condescend to look favourably on us. If not, it’s just tough.

Or we have the weak and dying God portrayed in Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials. But a weak God is a God of our own making. If God is not powerful, he isn’t God.

My response to the suffering being experienced on the islands of the Philippines will be either one of hopelessness or one of hope. Either there is no God (or if there is one, he doesn’t care) which leaves me rootless in the shadows, or there is a God and he does care in which case I reach for the light shining in the darkness.

The story of the Book is of a good and powerful God who created a good and loving world. Man’s choice allows sin to intervene and God’s creation is mutilated with the introduction of pain and death. But the story is not yet over. In Jesus God has revealed himself as close and loving and powerful. And in Jesus God has come alongside us in suffering & redemption. And in Jesus God has released the cosmic power of creation to bring resurrection life. And in Jesus we have hope for the future knowing that whatever pain this life brings us, he knows the pain too and yet he brings new life.

The Book ends with the grand sweeping vision of John in Revelation 21, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first earth has passed away, and there was no longer any sea” … or typhoons, or earthquakes, or famine, or war, or loss or death…

So with my life lifted up toward the light that shines in the darkness, with my soul full of hope for eternity, I turn towards my suffering neighbour and reach out a hand to serve and bless and pray.

Up and coming events in the life of Leeds Vineyard New Worship Album - Spirit Burn
The new, live, worship album from the Vineyard has just been released. With contributions from our own Ed Rotherham, Simon Green and Pete Restrick we should all be buying a copy! Ed’s song is really good and there is lots of great stuff (old and new) on the CD.

This week Ben, Kate, Alison and I are taking a few days out at a conference in Oxford where we will be meeting with a number of church leaders from similar sized churches (not Vineyard) to think through our vision and mission whilst receiving some input and inspiration from others on the same journey. It’s particularly good timing with our move to Headingley. Please pray that we learn and discern God’s plan for the Vineyard in Leeds.



David Flowers, 12/11/2013
xiaojun (Guest) 16/11/2017 01:15
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myy (Guest) 09/05/2018 10:15,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
obat kanker paru paru (Guest) 28/06/2018 09:52
zzzzz (Guest) 23/08/2018 02:54