Friday, January 14, 2011


Mark Miller recently wrote in The Washington Post: "Sensible responses to senseless violence come more from preachers than pundits. I suppose that's because clergy are called on routinely to comfort their flocks in the face of life's inexplicable horrors and loss. Wisdom, they seem to know from experience, lies in accepting that there are few answers, only questions and fears."

Miller offers a worthy challenge for those of us in the God game. Response does not come easily. It is a mark of our world when violence touches us. It is always been that way. We have just passed through the season when Christians point to the coming of one who promised peace on earth and yet we do not experience such. In fact the followers of the Prince of Peace often justify violence as a means of advancing their agenda. You have only to remember a Sunday morning in Kansas to know what I mean.

I for one am inclined to the notion that the Divine Presence we seek to discover and understand is a bit beyond our reach. We see God's hand in the journey of Abraham, the ministry of Jesus, the message of Mohammed and maybe even the work of Joseph Smith. There are others reaching out with mind and hand and we are left always still looking. Note the doctor who recently reminded us that we needed to have room for miracles in our understanding of the world.

I affirm the notion that the presence of God in our lives is in fact best seen in our willingness to give miracles a place in our world view. We are not all powerful. What we will and wish we often cannot make real but we continue to try--and to know--and I believe that in so doing we walk anew with Abraham who left father and kin to pursue a dream. We learned in Tucson that like the ministry of Jesus, suffering is part of our lives.

There is much to know and part of learning is living. And living sometimes hurts terribly. It is not enough to say there is no meaning nor is it enough to say we are not God and therefore will never understand. We must role back the edges of mystery, and by living well, creating a world worthy of our children. That is, as our President reminded us, good work. It may even be God's work.

Robert M. Randolph
Chaplain to the Institute