On the hillsides and on the mountainsides along the ocean in Japan there are stone markers, some of them over six hundred years old, and on the markers there are engraved warnings about tsunamis. And the markers tell the Japanese people not to build their homes or any dwellings below this part of the mountain, because if a tsunami comes you're going to be in big trouble. Well, as Japan progressed into a modern culture with its technology and wealth, people disregarded those warnings. Instead, they started building their homes and dwellings farther down the mountainsides and closer to the ocean. They figured that all their intelligence, their technology, the sea walls, the early warning systems would protect them. Of course we learned last spring that that wasn't the case. According to the latest estimates, that earthquake and the subsequent tsunami killed about 1,600 people. So people disregarded the warning from their ancient ancestors about tsunamis. They were incredibly humbled by the power of the ocean that just came in and just swept everything away.
That event from last spring reminds us that we live in a world that is marked by chaos. You don't know when your world is going to be destroyed, when a wave is going to come in and wipe everything away—whether it's a tsunami in Japan, a hurricane in the gulf, or something closer to home like an unemployment letter or a bad diagnosis or the end of a marriage. At some point we will all realize that this world is chaotic and unpredictable and that we are susceptible to all kinds of things. So the question I want to ask this morning is this: Given that reality of our world, where do we find hope? Where does hope come from in a world marked by chaos and disorder? ...
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