Martin Weber, D.Min., director of the Mid-America Union Communication Department, has written a thoughtful reflection on disasters and human morality.
For many, Hurricane Sandy evokes flashbacks of the 2005 Asian tsunami. During that tragedy I was a pastor in suburban Sacramento, California. Having heard that many unchurched people were praying for tsunami victims, we thought it would be good to invite them to pray together with us. So we rented an electric sign trailer and parked it in front of our church, welcoming anyone who wished to pray to join us that evening.
People driving by our church facility noticed the flashing sign. Some returned that evening, joining our church members in the dimly lit sanctuary. As soft music played, I began the service by asking attendees to share their thoughts and sympathies about the suffering in Thailand. Then we would pray together. Afterward, anyone who wished could contribute toward tsunami relief by dropping an offering into a box while exiting the sanctuary.
Members and guest began sharing their poignant concerns for the Thailand victims. Suddenly one of our members on the front row waved his arm for attention. I called upon him to share his sentiments, and he jumped up with an open Bible and declared excitedly: “This tsunami is an amazing fulfillment of Christ’s prediction that there would be natural disasters in the last days! Jesus is coming soon!” he announced to members and guests alike. He then proceeded to read eagerly from Matthew chapter 24 about the signs of Christ’s coming.
I stopped him. “There is a time and place to study Bible prophecy and the signs of Christ’s coming—but not tonight. We’ve come here to grieve and to pray for suffering humanity.” Despite his obvious disappointment, we proceeded to do just that.
Actually, our prophecy enthusiast may himself have been fulfilling a Bible prediction. Jesus warned that in the last days “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). . . .
Read the rest of "Hurricane Sandy and Prophetic Insensitivity" here.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4841