I’m trying to get my head around what it must have been like for the driver of this car.

My Father and my Uncle loved airplanes and it seemed that every month we would go to the hobby store and buy a model airplane that would be glued and decaled and painted and eventually would hang from fishing line from the ceiling of my room in San Diego.  There was a P-38 and a Lockheed Starfighter and other assorted airplanes in various attitudes of flight and it was disconcerting to say the least to wake up in the night and turn on the lights and see them swinging through the air as if in dogfights.  I wasn’t very old but I remember things falling off the wall and lamps tipping over, but the crazy looping way the models rolled through air above my bed is my main memory of earthquakes. I would later learn that there are quite a few quakes in San Diego and I also remember we drilled for them in school once and a while.  The earthquake drill was not as frequent as the “duck and cover” drill for a nuclear attack.  I do remember being in a Safeway parking lot and feeling that strange motion that is hard to describe and hearing someone shout that we were having a quake.

When I was in Montana on vicarage I was told that they had earthquakes there as well, which I had a hard time crediting until I remembered that Yellowstone Park is really  a 40-mile wide caldera crater and that sometime in the past it blew up with a wild ferocity.  I was told that not long ago there was an earthquake that caused the Yellowstone river to flow the wrong way for a while.  We were in the process of building an office at the church where I was and it was there that I felt my Montana quake.  It was really a large bang and a jolt but one knew right away that it was the earth moving.  San Diego had a king of rolling motion.  This was an abrupt jolt.

Anyway I was thinking of all this as I heard about the Alaska earthquake and looked back over the week of the terrible fires and hurricanes.  I was talking to some colleagues and one of them brought up the phrase “hand of God” and all the others chimed in “don’t even go there”.  I understand the reaction.  When religious people talk about God’s judgment especially in terms of natural disasters the “modern reaction” is that we are superstitious and judgmental and hate people and it is a good thing that religion is dying.  It is easier to blame a President for a hurricane because of the words that he uses about global warming; that’s not stupid.  But to talk about the hand of God and perhaps His wrath being revealed is too much.

I get it but…….“Who looketh on the earth, and it trembleth; He toucheth the mountains, and they smoke.” Psalm 104:32.





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