I’m sitting here on a Saturday afternoon trying to get some work done and I can’t pull myself away from some of the coverage of the earthquakes in California. The cell phone and other video is amazing, but I can’t get over the audio of people screaming over and over again “oh God” or even better yet, “oh my God“. That’s getting pretty personal. No impersonal unmoved mover“ in that declaration. The old
saw applies that there are no atheists in fox holes, but there are plenty of atheists after they leave the fox holes. In fact sometimes leaving the fox hole make some committed Christians become atheists. The reasons for that aren’t up for debate now but there are reasons. Luther talked about the fact that the mystery of God‘s mercy is great but even greater than that is the mystery of man’s unbelief.
Of course I being a curmudgeon sit and asked the question “if these people screaming oh my God over and over again have used the word God in the sentence that wasn’t a curse in the last days, weeks, months, or years and if so how? I always wonder if they have a prayer life at all or if that’s it – just ordering over and over again oh god oh god oh god oh god? I will probably be criticized for this and I’m not trying
to be nasty but it is a good pastoral question -how do you take God’s name in vain or how do you pray, praise and give thanks? Calling upon that name in time of trouble is of course ordered, but only calling upon it in time of trouble and then just screaming oh my god oh my god, seems to be a little bit shallow.
I wasn’t there and I’m not gonna try to guess my reaction because I’m sure it would’ve been much the same, probably a little bit worse. I keep thinking about the different biblical references. In one place, “it will be said in those days everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved“. Then there is Jesus saying “not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven“. Interesting stuff there but kind a hard to get your head around when you’re standing with the whole earth shaking and seeming to be turning into liquid under your feet. That’s the image of the last day when there’s going to be a lot of O God stuff being screamed while the stars fall down and the universe is rolled up like a scroll. That will be a cause for rejoicing ,Jesus says. Why? Because our redemption is drawing nigh. We’ll talk about those reasons for rejoicing but in the meantime I pray for the people in California and hope they get a good nights sleep. This is a difficult time for those folks I’m gonna pray God‘s blessings upon them.