An evil event be­came the oc­ca­sion for the great­est good

Medicine Hat News - - FAITH - Rev. Oz Lorentzen

I’ve been think­ing about the role of the hard things in life, think­ing about them in terms of love (Why does a lov­ing God al­low bad things?) and, be­cause of the time of year, in terms of thanks­giv­ing (Do we only give thanks for the pleas­ant things?). I’ve been think­ing about the source and mo­ti­va­tion for giv­ing thanks. And, while it is seems ab­surd on the face of it to sug­gest we give thanks for what is un­pleas­ant, on re­flec­tion I think we can rec­og­nize the im­por­tance and value of the hard things in our life. This is as com­mon place as the weightlifter’s maxim, “No pain; no gain” and as pro­found as the claim that the only per­fect hu­man was “made” per­fect — brought to com­ple­tion, made fit for his mis­sion — by the things he suf­fered.

In our own lives, we can prob­a­bly iden­tify the ben­e­fits of hard work and ef­fort and the pos­i­tive out­comes of tem­po­rary losses and/or set­backs. One of my favourite il­lus­tra­tions of this prin­ci­ple is the way the hu­man body de­vel­ops over­all health, a strong im­mune sys­tem and disease re­sis­tance from get­ting sick in the de­vel­op­men­tal stages of life. Or, to again em­ploy a tru­ism, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” We also, pre­sum­ably, have losses and set­backs that have only pro­duced dis­ap­point­ments and scars, but these too, we are asked to hold in the light of the great re­ver­sal that the Love of God brings into hu­man con­scious­ness through Je­sus.

In the church we in­her­ited a Greek term, Eucharist, which means “grate­ful, thanks­giv­ing.” In its con­stituent parts, the term means to speak well of a favour re­ceived. My chal­lenge to­day is to think about those things in my life that I wish were oth­er­wise, to ac­cept them as part of God’s Love for me, and then to speak well of them as of a favour re­ceived — that is, to give thanks. As I en­deav­our to do this, I be­gin to see that this is much more than a case of “pos­i­tive think­ing.” Nor is it an in­stance of fal­si­fy­ing my ex­pe­ri­ence, writ­ing a re­vi­sion­ist his­tory for my life. In­stead, it is to be­gin to see the true na­ture of things, to get be­yond the sur­face to the glory in­her­ent in all things.

Je­sus did just that when he of­fered him­self — per­fect hu­man, made com­plete in suf­fer­ing. for all of hu­man­ity — the event we re­mem­ber in the Eucharist! He ini­ti­ated the Great Re­ver­sal where death was “killed” through his death. An evil event, a grave in­jus­tice, be­came the oc­ca­sion for the great­est good. This gives us an in­sight into the in­ner work­ings of re­al­ity, an in­sight that al­lows us to see the favour of God’s Love in all of life — the good and the bad — an in­sight that en­ables us to be truly thank­ful!

Rev. Oz Lorentzen is from St. Barn­abas Angli­can Church.

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