Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Cold comfort



This poor wee mite flew into our window this evening and died instantly. A song we used to sing in Sunday School went: His eye is on the sparrow, so I know he watches me. Even from a young age I thought this song brought little comfort. On my daily tramp over fields to school, I would encounter dead birds often enough to doubt that God offered them much protection.

Thankfully as I grew I encountered folk who allowed me to express these doubts and who listened to my hard questions. Until now, still on that same journey of question and discovery and learning to live with mystery, I have the privelege of accompanying others as they grapple with faith and with doubt.

I give thanks every day that we don't have to be like the queen in Alice in Wonderland who had to believe in 6 impossible things every morning before breakfast. Its not just practice in believing we need but real people to stand alongside us as we refuse to settle for easy answers but keep on seeking out more and more difficult questions.

8 comments:

Frederick Buechner's Lovechild said...

Interesting you should raise that observation just a few days after 9/11. I remember seeing Stephen Fry on Parkinson not long after, talking about peoples' survival stories, and how many attributed to God the fact that they'd either skipped work that day, or had some distraction which kept them out of the towers. His point - which I echo - is that we can't say that God did those things (and spared those people) without it's corollary - that he chose to let those other 4000 die in the most obscenely terrifying way. My way of dealing with that is to argue that God's not responsible for either the deaths or the survivals, any more than he's responsible for the actions of the madmen who flew the planes into the towers in the first place. He's given us freedom and prizes it. I don't believe he pulls all our strings all the time. Some Christians would find that reprehensible, though.

What do you think, Liz?

liz said...

Fbl - what a challenge. I'm with you - freedom is the Creator's gift. Further, I don't believe our paths are all marked out - I think things can change depending on choices and on reltionships and all those kind of influences - things that, ultimately come back to choice.

IAIN CUNNINGHAM said...

I agree with your comments about freedom but I don't think we should forget Jesus' words about the sparrows either. The point Jesus was making is that God knows what is going on not that he would continually intervene to control things. Something worth exploring here - especially whether God's knowledge of our plight is any real comfort to us.
Incidentally, I am sure you know that your poor wee victim was not a sparrow but a robin! :-)

a feckless boy said...

and yet sometimes strings are pulled...that's the frustrating/puzzling/inexplicable thing. It would be easier if God had a uniform response, but, somehow, sometimes, there seems to be a tug - not least in response to prayer I suppose.

a feckless boy said...

liz, i've added you to my blogging pals if that's ok.

liz said...

feckless boy, I'm honoured to be one of your blogging pals. would you mind if I put a link to your blog - missing your wisdom this past wee while.

liz said...

Iain, thanks as always for your wise contribution. I was only in primary school when I made those early observations and didn't have the benefit of all those years of theology. Strangely, I still feel the same, though.

a feckless boy said...

ahh..the dilithium crystals are straining at the moment, and my broadband is also down. Feck is the only word that adequately covers it.

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