In the Bible sinful action sees God’s punishment unfurled –

In the Bible sinful action
sees God’s punishment unfurled.
Seismic faults can find their reason
in God’s shaking of the world.
Dualism, human freedom,
‘best of all’ this fractured earth?
Does God punish us for actions
which negate our human worth?

But today does retribution,
witnessed through earth’s fractured crust,
make much sense of God in action
when our cities turn to dust?
Do our people crushed and broken
act as warning, point to God?
Or is good news, clouded, hidden,
buried deep beneath the sod?

Much like Job, we seek an answer,
craft theology with care,
looking for a simple reason,
find new scapegoats standing there.
If we were more deeply honest
we might find it’s Christ who dies,
God who suffers in the present
when we hide behind our lies.

When we value wealth or nation,
see resources to be owned,
see the poor as simple objects,
their humanity dethroned;
then what may be seen as natural
rests on our incompetence,
or on human greed and evil
and on loving’s reticence.

Tune: LUX EOI (StF 400/764)
Metre: D

Written in response to Rev’d Professor David Chester’s Seminar on Earthquakes, Volcanoes and God: Theological Perspectives on Natural Disaster
Andrew Pratt, Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
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