17 June 2008

God's Presence

Two people that I find very fascinating, Martin Luther King Jr and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, held similar views of God.

“You know, neither of them could speak about God totally being in control of events in the world. How is King going to believe that God is running the show when there is slavery for hundreds of years? When there is Jim Crow? When there is racism before his eyes, when those who are struggling for justice are being persecuted and hosed down in the streets? How is Heschel going to speak of God's dominance of the world in light of the Holocaust and all the other suffering of humanity? And yet both of them spoke of God's presence in their lives. I remember a sermon that King gave where he spoke about his fear when it became known to him that people were out to get him, when his house was going to be bombed, and he wondered how he could face up to this kind of tragedy, this kind of threat of his own death. And he writes that it was the presence of God that came to him one night that enabled him to bear with the bombing that did, in fact, come. So it wasn't that God had colluded in that bombing, that God had given permission to the bomber, that God was supervising things and, as it were, folding God's hands and allowing the bombing to happen. King did not pronounce on these mysteries of divine provenance. What he did do was testify to God's presence in his life as a source of hope and courage.” Arnold Eisen on Speaking of Faith, 06/05/08

"Divine Provenance" -- meaning basically, originating from God.

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