Weekly Word – September 12: The Quake

Here’s a very brief reflection on what God’s word says to us in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake. This was written for the weekly newsletter at St Stephen’s (which only has room for a short reflection – hence the brevity). I hope to post something more substantial in the next few days, which I hope might be helpful to anyone who wants to think about what the Bible says to us at times like this.

Well, where do we start!? What do we say after a week like that?

As we try to process the physical and emotional toll of the last week, God’s word has so many things to say to us that it really is hard to know where to start. In the days and weeks ahead, I hope we can prayerfully reflect on more of these things together. But for now, I thought I’d point us to one passage that came to mind for me this week.

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches his disciples how to handle the anxieties of life. I’m sure these words now speak to us like never before: “I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt 6:25, 27)

Jesus doesn’t ask us to bury our heads in the sand (or should that be the silt?) and pretend life is easy. He knows that all kinds of things will make us feel anxious. But he gives us the alternative: in the face of anxiety, look to our heavenly Father, who not only knows all our needs but loves us and provides for us.

On top of this, Jesus says we’ll be ready to handle anxiety if we’re focusing on what matters most. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,” Jesus tells us, “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust [nor earthquake] destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt 6:19-20)

These are not meant to be easy answers, and there is so much more to say. But in the midst of everything else going on, and as we continue to support each other, let’s pray that God would use this time to help us “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” knowing that, as we do that, “all these things will be added to us.” (Matt 6:33)

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