The Norman Transcript

Religion

May 24, 2013

Finding peace amidst the chaos

NORMAN — We have all been impacted by the devastation of the Moore tornado. Friends and neighbors left with nothing — no homes, no vehicles, no places of work — nothing. All of us grieving the death of children, neighbors and loved ones.

As we grieve, I am reminded that there is a time for everything: Silence, tears, embracing, searching, helping, cleaning and beginning again. Eventually, when the time is right, questioning. How do we make sense of this? Where was God? Does God cause or allow these things to happen? Is there even a God? The questions are too important to ignore. The answers force us to wrestle with how we understand life and faith. Some offer simple answers; inadequate for times like these. Others ignore the questions, which makes us even more uncomfortable. I’m not sure a totally satisfactory answer is possible, but we must still ask and we must still consider. If the time is right for you to ask these questions, maybe the ramblings of a pastor can encourage you.

Two ideas from scripture come together to help me make sense of the devastation and destruction that result from natural disasters — tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. The first is from creation. Genesis 1:2 describes an earth that was formless, meaningless, empty, dark and had a mighty wind above its watery surface. In other words, the earth was full of chaos. Yet, out of the chaos, God created and described His creation as “very good.” But, was that the end of creation and chaos? Romans 8 states that the “whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”

What does it mean that creation groans and suffers? Could it be that tornadoes are one way?

The second idea from scripture involves the “already-not yet” nature of salvation. The scripture talks about salvation as something that has already occurred, “by grace through faith.” Yet, it also teaches us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Through Jesus we are “made righteous,” yet we must learn to “walk” in that righteousness. We are a “new creation” in Christ, yet we still struggle with the “chaos” of our old nature. We are transformed in Christ, yet being transformed as we grow and mature in our faith. This is great news, but means I still have to deal with the chaos in my life and allow God to continue His creative work in me.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Religion
  • Hnsen Luger Kate Hansen still riding the Olympic cloud

    Not many people can say they actually accomplished their lifetime dreams. Even less can say they did it before turning 22....

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conference set

    Following a diocesan-sponsored national conference on violence, “Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace,” the Episcopal Church Women of St. John’s Norman will host an Oklahoma diocesan-wide women’s conference and Bishop’s day on April 25-26....

    April 18, 2014

  • Muslim group urges re-education

    LOS ANGELES — Seeking a way to prevent violence like last year’s deadly Boston Marathon bombing, an Islamic advocacy group Monday announced a plan aimed at helping U.S. mosques identify and re-educate radicals....

    April 18, 2014

  • This is ... Friday ...

    It’s Good Friday. Good Friday? What could possibly be “good” about Good Friday? Think about it … this is the day in which the Lord Jesus was beaten and crucified. He hung on a cross between two thieves. Abandoned, betrayed and denied, by ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Why do we always test God?

    ‘Do not put the Lord God to the test,’ Jesus said, but don’t we do this all the time? Human nature The Rev. Holly McKissick, Peace Christian Church UCC: It’s human nature: testing the limits of God’s peaceful creation....

    April 17, 2014

  • Girl told not to say prayer

    OVIEDO, Fla. — The 5-year-old who said she was told not to pray over her lunch visited the school Monday and identified the staffer in a line-up, her family’s lawyer said....

    April 11, 2014

  • CrossPointe chooses Butler as lead pastor

    One of Norman’s largest churches has chosen a new lead pastor for its congregation. Mike Butler, 38, was voted lead pastor by the congregation of CrossPointe Church on March 23. Butler succeeds Glenn Quirk, who served as lead pastor for ...

    April 11, 2014

  • A divine drama

    All of us love drama. We experience drama in many ways. We watch a play on a stage or a show on TV. We have lives filled with drama every day through interactions with other people....

    April 11, 2014

  • What should we think of original sin?

    The Rev. Joe Nassal, Precious Blood Center: Watching the evening news recently, there was one disaster story after another, from the Malaysian airline that disappeared to the mudslide where one minute people are going about their daily ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Lenten lunch set

    The next Norman Ministerial Fellowship Lenten lunch will be Wednesday at NorthHaven Church, 4600 36th Ave. NW. Guest pastor will be the Rev. Joseph Summerville, University Lutheran Church. The sermon theme will be “The Thursday of Holy ...

    April 4, 2014