One year ago today, on June 22, 2022, a land long known for its cultural instability and uncertainty was literally rocked to its core. Afghanistan endured an earthquake registering on the Richter Scale at 6.2. The shock was felt over 300 miles away by at least 119 million people. The disaster killed nearly 2,000 people, injured at least 3,000, and caused immeasurable property damage. During the last decade, earthquakes have killed more than 7,000 Afghans.
Accompanying the quake’s aftershocks were the voices of pundits claiming the “Act of God” was divine punishment for the behavior and beliefs of the local occupants. Only God knows if that may be true. Still, natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and volcanoes, have been deemed divine judgment by those seeking explanations for such terrifying and destructive events. Since antiquity, humans have debated whether the disasters occurred because the gods were angry and wanted to punish guilty humans. Today, many theologians believe God is in charge of nature but does not decree natural disasters, only permitting them to happen. Yet, while there is no easy way to answer why disasters happen or suffering exists, Holy Scripture records many acts of divine judgment. Examples include Noah’s flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the plagues in Egypt.
Earthquakes in the Bible usually share three purposes: judgment, deliverance, and communication. The shaking tends to draw attention to the Creator’s power and presence. Mount Sinai shook as Moses received the Ten Commandments. The earth quaked at the death of Christ on the cross. A tremor moved away the stone of the Day of the Resurrection. Jesus prophesized the ground’s shifting as signs of the birth pangs of the end times.
As we ponder the meaning of Earthquakes, let’s focus on what moves us. How about rumbling into church this weekend to experience the shaking power of the Holy Spirit? Please join us this Sunday, June 25, for worship at 8:00 AM (outdoor spoken liturgy, weather permitting), 10:15 AM (traditional liturgy), and 6:00 PM (healing).