Dilemma

November 2005

I remember my Nanna telling me how when she was a little girl growing up at Terka, the Teacher gave them an assignment. Each morning they were to record over which peak on the eastern range the sun came up. Nanna was still remembering this 6o years later. It was a deep and vital memory for her. I remember one day a sophisticated  and bored cousin saying life was not much, and there is no god. And Nanna exclaimed, ''How could you ever watch the sun come up is the morning and say that?!''

How could you watch the glory of a sunset and not feel something of the Divine? How could you know our history- a mere flicker in the time scale of the cosmos- and not be filled with wonder that we are given to know, and feel, and love? 

Nanna was no theologian or philosopher. She had to learn to write cheques when Grandpop died. But she loved us, and chortled with pleasure when my little 10 month old would crawl under the table and play with the pink pom-poms on her slippers. When she was very old, there seemed only a shell left. Her skin was leathered, and had black rotting spots, like an over-ripe banana. I doubt if she knew I was there when I last came to see her. But the memories of cool drinks and ginger-nuts in the big kitchen remain, and even that old failing body was still a marvel. How could you not believe in God?

Death is not pretty, and I have suffered little grief. But to be with someone vital and alive, smiling despite all their pain, and then  hours later, see the mere shell- how could you not believe? Such life gone- leaving behind a perfect copy, but with no life in it . This miracle of life, so real, so ephemeral, such a mystery. How can I not  believe?

They talk in the church about Jesus, who was different . The stories say he treated the women like human beings. He even touched the outcast bleeding woman. He speaks for the poor and oppressed, standing for the little people against the high and mighty- so they say; his history is uncertain and in dispute Yet his Spirit has seeped into every part of our culture. How can I not believe, when I meet the richness of the human spirit in the Christ, and in the heroes who have stood against evil?

 But how can I  believe in a God who is all-powerful, yet drowns the innocent with the wicked? How can I believe in a God who could stop suffering, but does not- who says the smallest babe is evil, and allows the tyrant to flourish? How do I follow a God who would put his own Son to death in place of undeserving subjects? I do not know how this ever made sense- it does not now. It is barbaric, and such a God is a monster, a Saddam. 


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