Ezion-Mount Carmel United Methodist Church
Sunday, June 25, 2017
800 North Walnut Street Wilmington, DE 19801

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Greetings from Pastor Bryant
When Destruction Sudden Tear Apart
Read Luke 13:1-9
This month our nation will observe the 15 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. While it is still hard to believe that something like this happened, it is sad anytime there are tragic events of any kind that take place in the global community.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that God does not take pleasure in destroying God’s creation. Nevertheless, people are quick when it comes to blaming God for all kinds of disasters and tragic events.
According to Scripture, the Tower of Siloam was an ancient tower in Siloam in south Jerusalem, which fell during the time of Jesus, killing 18 people. First century Jews viewed disasters as direct divine retribution for personal sins. Like Job’s friends, they assumed that since God is just, suffering proved guilt and sin was present somewhere.
However, when Jesus described the event of the fall of the Tower of Siloam that killed eighteen people, he asked his hearers whether the people that were killed were worse offenders than the others in Jerusalem. He also described the events in Galilee where Pontius Pilate had just murdered several people. He also asked the same question as to whether those killed were worse sinners than other people in Galilee. 
Christ words are still modern as tomorrow’s newspaper. We can indeed ask the same questions today about those who die in natural disasters or in a similar fashion. 
Jesus answered this question by saying no, these are no worse sinners than the others but unless all repent all will likewise perish. What does this tell us? This tells us that those who die in natural disasters did not do anything to cause the disaster. Jesus states to those around him that they will definitely share the same fate if they do not change their way of living.
We hear of natural disasters and so-called “Acts of God” but because these have become an almost everyday phenomenon, we shrug our shoulders and forget all about it. What should normally induce reflection becomes another superficial topic for discussion that does not even last for a minute. It is brushed under the carpet with the sigh that “Well, it is just another natural disaster.”
These “natural disasters” then should not just be shrugged off but must be taken as warnings to those left to be reflective because we do not know when we will leave this world. These things should help us to remember to cherish each day and to live each day to the fullest. As Christians, we should live in a state of total preparedness.
Disastrous events can serve as warnings and we should make every effort to change our ways. How do we change our ways? We change our ways by realizing that life is precious and life is short. We change our ways by being grateful for each new day. We change our ways by realizing that each day is a gift from God. We change our ways by having a repentant heart. We change our ways by living the way Jesus commanded us to live. We change our ways by being the hands and feet of Christ.
We cannot stop disasters from coming but we can live so that others can see Christ in us. We can live so that God is glorified. We can live so that hope is given. We can live so that someone will come to know the Savior. 
We should never look in distain or arrogance on those who suffer due to natural disasters. It is only by the grace of God that we are here today. We thank God for lengthening the brittle cords of our lives and for allowing us each precious moment here on earth. 
Pastor Bryant