January 14, 2010

Shaken

God shakes the earth so that
what cannot be shaken may remain.
- Hebrews 12:27

Following news of the deadly earthquake in Haiti this week, I returned to an article by Herbert O'Driscoll in Christian Century simply titled Shaken. In the article O'Driscoll suggests that "Earthquake imagery has shaped my understanding of who I am as a priest."

O'Driscoll then goes on to refer to a 1963 homily given by Michael Ramsey, then archbishop of Canterbury, at a world gathering of Anglicans in Toronto. Ramsey was commenting on the 12th chapter of Hebrews. He explained that the writer was reminding his readers of something that had happened far back in their history. The earth had trembled and opened with terrible consequences. Then the writer of Hebrews goes further. The earth will be shaken again! Ramsey came to the point he wished to make: Why does God shake the earth? He went back to verse 27: "God shakes the earth so that what cannot be shaken may remain."

O'Driscoll concludes his article, written some months ago and published December 29, with these thoughts: "To serve in an age of earthquake is to be forced to decide what it is, for each one of us, that cannot be shaken."

I heard on the news this morning of crowds of Hataians gathered in the streets of the city, singing of their faith. In the midst of the devastation of earthquakes, let us remember the God of our faith who promises to be present with us always and calls us to respond to the needs of brothers and sisters throughout the world.