What on Earth Can I Say?
Preaching in the face of tragedy.
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 ...