Calgary is flooding. Record rainfalls are producing an epic catastrophe in our city. Roughly 10% of our population has been evacuated from their homes. Much of downtown is under water. Bridges and roads have been washed out across Southern Alberta and in the Rockies. Houses and property have been eliminated across Southern Alberta. We have experienced untold damage and destruction and hundreds of thousands of lives have been deeply impacted.
And more rain is coming as I write this. The Bow river is expected to continue to rise through our city. But the latest news reports I have heard say that not a single person has been killed! [Update – June 22: news this morning confirms that three people have died in Southern Alberta.]
We may ask where God is in all of this. I hope this paraphrase of Matthew 25:32 – 40 does justice to Jesus’ thoughts.
Before God all the nations gathered. The people were separated one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He placed the sheep on his right, the goats on the left.
Then the King said to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. I lost my home and you housed me.”
Those on his right answered him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? When did you lose your home and we housed you?”
The King answered, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Then a voice shouted in the distance, “And where, pray tell, where were you when Calgary flooded? I was forced from my home and had to rely on the hospitality of others. My business was ruined and I had to rely on the generosity of others. I had no food and had to rely on the hands of others to feed me. What comfort is there when you express solidarity with those who suffer when you could have done something about the suffering. Where were you?”
The King answered, “Truly, I say to you, the home you slept in during your evacuation was my home. The wallet that was opened to support you was my wallet. The hands that fed you during your time of trouble were my hands. My dear child, whatever love and assistance you have received from the least of these my brothers you have received from me.”