I am sitting at my desk reflecting on the July sermon series, “What it means to be a disciple”. While looking through questions many of you have shared with me about faith and God, I came across this question.
“How can a loving God leave so many people in the world in such terrible living conditions?”
This is a difficult question. One that I first faced, as I shared a few weeks ago in a sermon, when I visited the Dominican Republic when I was just out of high school. It was the first time I had seen people living in incredible squalor. There I saw a whole family, living on a small raft with a tin shack on top, floating in a junk filled river. Even as I think of it now the question above comes to mind. Why, God?
Couldn’t you simply take care of this, God? This brings to mind a verse from Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Some days it seems like God does not do enough. And yet as I think of all of creation and the story of creation in Genesis, I remember that God made everything and “It was good!” I believe God made us because God loves each one of us and loves to be in relationship with all of us. That is why God put us here on this incredible planet. This is a planet where there is potential for such amazing abundance. Here there is the possibility for more food to be produced than there are people. So why is it that some live in such terrible conditions?
That question ultimately comes back to me… because I have difficulty sharing with my neighbor. God gives us the choice of what to do with GOD’s creation. Yet I often feel that I have worked hard and I have earned ‘my’ stuff from God. I want to claim those things as my own, rather than sharing them with others. Christ charges us to love GOD and our neighbor. When things don’t go the way we want them in the world it can be so easy to blame God. And yet if we love God and think the best of God we find that God does so many things to help people in the world. What happens when things go wrong? Well, it is often because, as Christ’s hands and feet, God’s children are not very good at caring for each other.
I believe strongly that God loves us and does care for us and has created a world of incredible abundance for us. Now we (that means everyone in the world) need to find ways to get along and to focus on caring for all those who live is such terrible conditions. As many people have shared with me… when I point one finger at God or at someone else to blame Him/or them for something. I have to remember that three of those fingers are pointing back at me. As Christ’s children we are truly loved. Christ gave his life to show us this. We should then, out of love for all of Gods children, do all we can to put an end to such conditions. That, in fact, is why we were created – to love GOD and to Love our neighbor.
If you would like to hear more about people living in difficult conditions and what you can do to help, come and hear Pastor Kinney (from Food For The Poor) on Sunday, August 4.
Peace and Joy, – Pastor Dan
P. S. from Pastor Dan
NEW INTERN PASTOR
Please Join Me in Welcoming Elizabeth “Bitta” Fynskov Clark as our new Intern Pastor.
As we welcome Bitta to House of Prayer, let me send out a gentle reminder to wear your name tags in worship for the next couple of months as she begins to learn all of your names. In addition, I want to encourage people who often use the Intern’s Office as a meeting space to be certain to call Jill to schedule use of that office so that it does not conflict with time that Bitta will be in the office. Thanks and be sure to welcome Bitta and introduce yourself!