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Viewpoint from Rev Sue Seeley 25/11/11

Rev Sue Seeley
Minister, Neatishead Baptist Church

“If I were you I wouldn’t start from here”

Dove rightWe are familiar with this Irish joke. It could apply to parts of Norfolk and the Waveney Valley too! None of the landmarks look anything like the ones you’d been told to expect. The hedge facing you doesn’t have a postcode, so you can’t use satnav. And you didn’t bring a map because you thought you knew where you were going
In life we sometimes suddenly come to on unexpected place and don’t know how to proceed. We say a normal “Cheerio” to a loved one; the next thing we know is the knock of a policeman on the front door. Maybe a death had been expected after a long illness; but what hits us is our response to it. If we are normally strong we are thrown if we crumple. If we’ve been the dependent person in the relationship we are surprised – and maybe feel a little guilty – if we find we can cope better than we or others had expected. Or a moment of madness, by ourselves or someone dear to us, brings all our realities and dreams crashing down around our feet. How do we begin to move forward?
 dove left
I’m privileged to be a regular visitor to New Zealand. In September 2010 a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch where my cousins live, resulting in much damage to infrastructures, properties, livelihoods and land degradation, but fortunately no loss of life. We saw the impact ourselves when we visited in the October. Then in February 2011 a 6.3 aftershock hit with much more devastating results – including 192 deaths - due to the shallowness, position and type of movement. So a double-dose of realities and dreams literally came crashing down at peoples’ feet
We read the Canterbury Press (their Eastern Daily Press)on-line each day. Physical recovery will take 10-15 years and the emotional hurts and grief much longer. The way they are going about physical rebuilding is interesting. There’s a mix of piecemeal repairs, plus vast areas of the CDB being quickly flattened and a Greater Christchurch Recovery discussion-document. Some heritage buildings are being painstakingly deconstructed with a view to being rebuilt. But all, whether new or rebuilds, whether above ground or below, will have to be strengthened to a new earthquake code. And insurance cover is proving a problem for everyone, as the aftershocks have not stopped. Life is indeed still “shakin’ all over”
Christchurch’s experience shows that there’s more than one way to move forward. Life’s mistakes need not be the end of your world. To the woman who had screwed up her life Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more” (John 8:11) Other reassuring verses from the Bible include “Underneath are the everlasting arms” (Duet 33:27); “My God shall supply all your need” (Phil 4:19), and “Your word is a light to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)  And if you are “all shook up” right now, may you feel God’s presence in a very special way