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What on Earth Can I Say?

Preaching in the face of tragedy.

What on Earth Can I Say?

Preaching is challenging enough as it is, but there's a special burden on preachers who have to preach in the dark and confusing days after a disaster strikes. The disaster may be a tragedy on an intimate scale, such as the death of a child, or it may affect a whole region, like massive storms that have devastated states and left scores dead in their wake. It may even be a catastrophe of global reach, such as the 2004 tsunami spawned by a massive undersea earthquake which carried an estimated quarter million people out to sea, the largest natural disaster in recorded history. Such events cry out for some response, however halting.

A new kind of abyss yawns before us when devastation is not the result of natural processes like the movement of tectonic plates but has a human cause like the 1994 Rwandan genocide that left 800,000 dead or the 9/11 attack that brought ordinary Americans forcefully into a world shaped by threats of terror. To say nothing at devastating times is to do more ...

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January 16, 2018  10:05am

Your points were very clear, with the exception of number four, which is a double negative sentence too hard to unravel. That sentence might read, Proclaim God's power to lead us out of the pain and the confusion and to surround us with his love and care. Thank you for the words of the pastor who did not succumb to hatred or negativity but held up the certainty of God and the promises made in his holy Word.

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john noble

January 15, 2018  9:49am

Good, sound advice in dealing with difficult and distressing circumstances. Thank you

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