Viewpoint from the Revd Tim Thompson for 18th March 2011
From the Rev’d Tim Thompson
Rector of All Saints Caister.
Just over a year ago my wife and I said farewell to our nieces and their families in the attractive and peaceful city of Christchurch in New Zealand. In t
he middle of February we had a news email telling us how they were all getting on and saying how the city was working hard to repair everything after the September earthquake in time for the rugby world cup this autumn. Yet it was only hours later that the city was hit by another much more devastating earthquake. To our enormous relief Facebook messages have told us that all our relatives are safe and well but their houses are wrecked.
Meanwhile I imagine we have all been watching with amazement, and sometimes horror, as a wave of revolution sweeps across the Arab world. We hope and pray that this will be the forerunner of better government and greater prosperity for the peoples of those nations.
Yet it is fair to say that neither of these eventualities featured on any of the pred
ictions for 2011 made at the start of the year.
This is a salutary reminder to us that the natural state of the universe is chaos, not only physically but in human nature as well. The creative work of God, as described in the Bible, is to bring order, structure and beauty into the universe whilst keeping untamed chaos at bay. We can see this in the creation story, and the tale of Noah’s Ark, as well as in some of the Psalms or at the end on the Book of Job. We see it, as well, in the Gospels, for example when Jesus calms the storm or when he brings healing and peace to those tormented by illness.
People turn to Jesus because he shows them the possibility of living a fulfilled life in a just and stable society. He shows them how to overcome what is evil and to live well with their neighbours because this is what God wants for his people.
So in that sense the saving work of Christ in the Gospel is to teach us, and give us the vision of, how to build a society which strives to keep our world a safe and ordered place. Once you begin thinking about this you can see how ethical issues and the challenge of building a just, free and fair society are every bit as much a theological matter as they are a question of politics.