About a month ago, we looked together at the account of the plagues on Egypt. If you were here then, you’ll remember that we said God is in charge of the whole world, even those bits of it where he is not acknowledged. But how he uses that depends a lot on whether you are one of God’s people. God is a God who makes a distinction between his people and other people; when it comes to his people, he makes all things work for good.
I’m sure there is not a child anywhere in the English-speaking world who has not had a phase of asking “why” to everything. Children are naturally curious. They want to know how the world fits together. So as they observe things happening, they ask why? They want to understand.
Much that we do here in church makes people ask “why” as well? Why do we eat a meal each week comprising a small amount of bread and wine? Why do we have readings from the Bible in church? Why do we have a sermon? And so on.
We don’t like plagues. We shudder to think what it must have been like to live through the various runs of Bubonic Plague in the middle ages. We fear illnesses like swine flu because of what they might do to our community. We get very anxious when we hear that Iraq might have biological or chemical weapons, that could make life very painful and uncomfortable for us.
“… and they all lived happily ever after”.
We like stories that end like that. They’re lovely. At least – they’re lovely if you live in that period called “ever after”. The trouble is: That is only the ending because the rest of the story is somewhat more complex and somewhat less happy. That’s what makes “… and they all lived happily ever after” newsworthy.