Good people of West Parish,
As I write this, the snow is really starting to fall. It’s just beginning to stick on the grass, and they say we may get 12 inches or more! Wasn’t it me, at this time last week, wishing for more snow? Wasn’t it me, almost bemoaning the warm spring-like days? Wasn’t it me, wanting more winter in this Lent? Well, I got my wish! Or luck is with me. Or God heard my prayers. Or mother nature responded. Or...
Some said that the Parkland shooting happened because God isn’t allowed in schools. Some said that hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans because of gay people. Some preachers blame “sinfulness” for all kinds of things, including natural disasters. With this line of thinking, God sent this snow FOR me!
I believe this is bad theology. God doesn’t send hurricanes to punish us. God doesn’t send snow to reward us. God permeates ALL of creation – and destructive forces are sometimes a part of that creation. Whether earthquakes or cancer, whether lightning strikes or car accidents – horrible things happen. Can prayer help us? Can prayer align us with the Spirit of goodness and healing? Absolutely. But let’s put away the idea of God as a puppet master in the sky, wielding punishments and rewards.
That said, our curious reading for this Sunday from the book of Numbers, includes God sending poisonous snakes upon the Israelites. (What?!) That’s right: God sends snakes to the Israelites while they are in the wilderness, they are bitten, and many die. What do we do with this story?! Does this tell us something about God - or not? Join us on Sunday, and I will invite you to wrestle with it along with me.
Blessings to you all!