Whoever I am, O God, I am yours!
1 Corinthians 1.1-9
Floods. In Queensland generally and in Brisbane itself, we are in the highly unusual position of being able to say we’ve had enough rain, thank you very much. We’ve been through a trial this week, with a devastating flood comparable to those of 1974 and 1893. Some of us have suffered flood damage, some have given help to others, some of us have been spared damage to our house and property. Not one of us is unaffected. The Courier-Mail says that 927 houses have been flooded in the Centenary, Sinnamon Park and Seventeen Mile Rocks areas. Our suffering has been small compared to the people of the Lockyer Valley, where lives have been lost.
Our own house is by the river at Riverhills, and is—normally!—quite high above the river. We weren’t so high above it the other day…! We lost power like everyone else, and we were cut off by road. We were able to walk out through a laneway, which is how we had shelter at Brenda’s place, but cars couldn’t get away. People who wanted to leave did have another option; the local rowing club ferried people across to the other side. They were absolutely wonderful!
We had a street bbq on Thursday night to use up food that was unable to be kept because of the lack of power. We’ve got to know our neighbours better—and we’ve had to rely on the kindness of friends and strangers alike to get through these last few days. We are very thankful indeed.
I want to speak a little personally today—I seem to do that from time to time. You may find something of yourself in my reflections.
I’ve found that I’ve been a little disappointed in my own reactions in these few days. I’ve been irritable, especially with my nearest and dearest. I haven’t listened particularly well, especially to my nearest and dearest. I’ve been feeling stunned at times, unable to act.
And yet I’ve also been receiving phone calls, making phone calls, offering pastoral care, ‘being’ the minister and ‘doing’ what a minister does.
All this has reminded me of a poem called Who am I?, which was written in 1943 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, while he was imprisoned by the Nazis. Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian who was hanged on Hitler’s direct orders only a few days before the end of World War 2.