Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Colorado Storms - instructive for me

Another Colorado thunder storm… you wake up in the morning to sunshine and shirt sleeves. But by 10 o’clock the clouds begin to form over the Rockies, just to the west of the school where I teach. They seem, throughout the morning, to grow in size, eventually melting together into one gigantic cloud mass. It’s still off in the distance, maybe 15 miles away, but you can see it means business.

Then it happens. About 3 in the afternoon you see the first flash of lightening, as you’re working at your desk. You count to 9 before you hear a distant roll of thunder. But you can see the storm moving – east – towards you. The next flash brings a count of 7 before thunder. Then there’s wind. Then it’s 3. Then there’s hail and a flash hits the peak, whose top is less than 100 meters from your window and POW!! There’s a loud crack and you can feel the electricity in the air, as the hail pelts the rooftop of your cabin.

Perhaps nowhere does the phrase ‘storm clouds gathering’ have more poignant meaning for me than in this room, on this mountain, in this grand state of Colorado. I ponder how easy it would be to ignore them and head out into the mountains, naively believing that the clouds will move west rather than east. But wishful thinking doesn’t make it so, and the signs that a storm is coming eventually come to fruition, as the lightning strikes all that is around you.

Yet this storm is tiny in comparison to the one that’s coming as the clouds around us convene: Our national debt rages recklessly out of control, as does our consumer debt and a commensurate rise in foreclosures. The gap between the rich and poor grows insanely large, fomenting discontent among the ‘have nots’. The environmental challenges of our consumerist ways threaten the ecosystem that God has provided as the source of our many blessings. Similar clouds are gathering in Europe, and let’s not even get started on the Middle-East.

What’s needed in a time of storm is a place of safety. Whether or storms are national or personal, economic or emotional, the promise is the same. God desires to be that place of safety. While we can’t know all mysteries related to ‘why’ things are as they are, we can know WHERE to find safety – not promises of immunity, but safety in the midst of storms – the opportunity to be a voice of love, hope, mercy, and celebration even in the darkest hour. Bonhoeffer lived it in the midst of Germany’s darkest days, along with handfuls of others who were voices of hope and courage.

As the storm clouds gather around us, I ask myself whether our little flock, and whether you and I, will be able to be voices of hope, and places of safety when storms unleash. Habakkuk said it thusly:

Though the fig tree should not blossom

And there be no fruit on the vines;

Though the yield of the olive should fail

And the fields produce no food,

Though the flock should be cut off from the fold

And there be no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will exalt in the Lord,

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength

And He has made my feet like hids’ feet,

And makes me walk on my high places…

I hope you’re seeking shelter, through time in fellowship, prayer, enjoyment of creation, the cultivation of simplicity, and a genuine enjoyment of Christ – and seeking to be shelter for others too, in these exciting, stormy days.


At 12/5/07 00:21, Blogger Ryan Wink said...

What a beautiful, yet terrifying picture you just painted. I feel that we as a country... as a world population... are ignorantly ignoring this rising storm that we are creating. I am sitting here, on the eve of my most challenging and difficult coaching experience of my life to this point... and I feel so simultaneously helpless and fortunate to have such an opportunity and blessing. What can we do but come to Christ for shelter from the self-inflicted typhoon that is about to hit us. Doesn't anyone else see it coming? I despise and cherish this time of uncertainty, because it truly brings out our "need-love" (Lewis) of Christ.


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