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Thoughts on how we respond

[ 1 ] March 17, 2011 |

What do we do, how should we feel, how can we help, how do we deal with it?  Sometimes we ask these questions of ourselves, especially when we see and hear with so much clarity and persistence the devastation in Japan — destruction defined by an earthquake, tsunami and even nuclear power plant melt downs. When we add to this the last few years of natural disasters from Hurricane Katrina to the more recent earthquake in Haiti, we can feel overwhelmed.  As Christians, how do we respond?  We might ask further, what’s going on?

I will try to answer the “what’s going” on question first.

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22

“God Himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away.” Revelation 21:3b,4

The first scripture speaks as to what is going on.  The creation itself is in the process of being redeemed.  God is at work in the hearts and through the lives of all those who will turn to Him in faith.  And His purpose is to one day usher in a new heavens and a new earth, a new creation birthed by His grace and spirit where all people have turned their hearts to God.  Until God ushers in the post-sin and death Kingdom, these kinds of things will continue, just as Jesus said they would.

“In this world you will have tribulation . . . you will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed, such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pangs.” Matthew 24

Then Jesus tells us what to do.

“Keep watch . . . be a faithful and wise servant.” Matthew 24

We can respond to the needs in Japan through UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, that is already at work.   But also, all the ways we influence our world and serve others is a direct and indirect response to the needs of that world — yes, when we directly give to UMCOR or another relief agency but also when we serve our neighbor, bless our family, worship our God and make a difference in our community.  As we join our daily efforts with the efforts of millions of other Christians, together we are making a difference.  Living out lives of faith, keeping watch, being faithful and wise servants consistently and lovingly — these are already ongoing responses to the seemingly overwhelming situations in our world.

Category: Weekly Thoughts

About miker: I am the Senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Mansfield where I have led the Church for more than 15 years. Our mission statement is "Making disciples of Jesus Christ who will love God, love others, and serve the world. This has been taken so to heart by this Church family that First Mansfield has become one of the top 50 attended Methodist Churches in nation impacting not only our local area, but our denomination and world. View author profile.

Comments (1)

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  1. Pastor Ramsdell,

    This letter came just in time for me. As I work for the Department of Defense we are constantly struggling with wars and threats of war, and we repsond to these things in due process. I am seeing the destruction in the Japans, and as before the destruction that has been and will continue to happen and the question always presented itself; “what is happening?” Thank you for relating your answer so smoothly into God’s word and scripture and giving me a concrete message to share with my friends and family that are going through the same mental trials in realtion to this. Our hearts and prayers to all of those lost and hurt in the chaos in Japan.

    Much love, your borther,


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