Monday, 23 July 2012

The shortness and uncertainty of human life

The storm came out of nowhere yesterday afternoon soon after 3:30 p.m.  What had been an overcast sky became dark within minutes. Then there was an hour long deluge, with utterly fierce winds.

Parts of my lanai got flooded. Trees or parts of trees in the neighbourhood were felled. It was almost as dark as midnight.

I was not afraid.  Nor was I scared.  But I was apprehensive.

In a Movie house in Aurora, Colorado a storm came out of nowhere soon after midnight last Friday. Twelve people were killed.  Some fifty eight were injured.  What a ghastly horror.

The storm here in Sarasota was unexpected and fierce.

The storm on Aurora was fierce and deadly.

Here's the truth.

In the end none of us are safe.

Physical security is an illusion.

We live in a world in which a falling tree, or a suicide bomber, or a landslide, or a determined shooter, or a heart attack, or some other illness could triumph over our all too brief lives.

“It” could happen to anyone of us.

The Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church (and maybe of other Churches in the Anglican Communion) is refreshingly honest about this.

That’s why these words have been in my mind today.  They are from the Prayer Book, and they are so penetratingly true.

O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies
cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the
shortness and uncertainty of human life.

Wise people of any or no religious beliefs will become even wiser inasmuch as that they are deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life.

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