There are many scary and alarming things happening around the world. Daily life continues to get worse in Haiti. The oil spill is now well beyond a spill; dropping a glass of milk is a spill; this is an out of control underwater volcano of crude oil. The Gaza situation is a nightmare with no lasting answers in sight. The economy continues to resemble a theme park roller-coaster ride. Could things get worse? What’s next? Well, Jesus was struck by lightning.
A church in Ohio erected a six-story statue of Jesus alongside a major freeway. During a thunderstorm a bolt of lightning struck the statue and brought it down. The statue broke in several places, caught fire and in the end, fell to the ground. I bet the fire department had fun with that call: All units. We have a code seventeen at this address. Lightning strike and now a six story unit is on fire. Hold all units. Jesus is on fire. Negative on the unit. It’s confirmed. Jesus is on fire.
The church was also likely flummoxed at this unique turn of events. That statue was their claim to fame. It was their landmark. They probably never imagined it would also function as a lightning rod. So what’s worse on the global scale? Haiti? An oily Gulf Coast? The Humpty-Dumptyization of Jesus’ statue? I’m going with the fragile environment, the eco-systems of the Gulf and the actual people of Haiti. People will disagree with me on this and that’s fine. Pat Robertson is likely already on sight filming a show where he blames Satan for this blatant attack on Jesus. Someone else will lay the blame on homosexuals; others will cite illegal immigration and the lack of Ten Commandments displays across Ohio. People in general feel the need to fix blame in order to make sense of it all. This happens after every natural disaster. Humans need a concrete handle on abstract events.
So what would Jesus say about this? What would Jesus cite as being the worst event? For my money it would be anything other than the statue crashing and burning. The Biblical Jesus would be grieving over the loss of Creation and for the suffering children of Haiti. That Jesus would also be the first to say that storms are part of Creation’s work and storms bring destruction. Lightning is as much a part of life as oxygen; and both were products of God’s earliest work. Would Jesus be upset over the statue’s demise? Who knows? The better question is this: What does today’s world need more: A six-story statue of Jesus or for the followers of Jesus to live elevated lives? That question shouldn’t be hard to answer, even on a stormy day.