The Third Sunday after Pentecost

Force Majeure? I was doing some reading of contracts for the ELCE and wading through the ‘fine print’ so to speak. Yes, there are acts, events, or circumstances beyond the control of those in the contract which can’t reasonably be anticipated or controlled (eg. extreme weath-er, war, terrorism) and which affects the contract and generally excuses the failure to com-plete whatever the contract was about. I know that the current pandemic has raised this issue in many quarters. But what specifically caught my attention was the phrase ‘Act of God’ which was at the top of the list! I didn’t think that phrase was used anymore. And I did wonder what the law defines as an ‘Act of God’.

What do you think?

Like beauty, I suspect, that an ‘Act of God’ is finally in the eye of the beholder! We know biology and how we came about – thank you, parents – but it would not also be incorrect for someone to also say ‘Act of God’ – and thus you are special and unique. I am also aware of history and the Christian Church’s skirmish-es with Science when it seemed to the Church that God was being ‘pushed out’ of the world as the branches of Science – Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Biology – explained how things came to be. Into this melee God seemed to be a ‘God of the gaps’ (in our knowledge), the ‘card’ you played when there were no answers it seemed, and thus God (and the Church) seemed ‘diminished’ and hence the skirmish has happened and is still happening in some quarters. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God’ (Psalm 19:1a) unless you put your hands over your ears and eyes and already say that there is no God but the heavens are still there while the Church could have simply responded to Science by saying, “Thank you for the knowledge of how – and it is also an ‘Act of God’”.

I suppose finally all things we observe reflect our view of how everything is and how every-thing is ‘linked together’ in what we call reality. Similarly all ‘Acts of God’ are reflections of the God you have in mind. Most religions have gods in the ‘building trade’. Creation is part of most deities’ curriculum vitae. Scary acts can reflect scary gods. Alternatively, a God of love might be loved for his love and sacrifice.

For Christians dealing with the Trinity, it is important to remember that we best encounter Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the works associated with them – creation, salvation, and sancti-fication – when we come to grips with a cross and an empty tomb. That story of Jesus sets us on the right path of knowledge, living, and faith. Yes, I said ‘a cross’. Yes, that means that it is an ‘Act of God’ (but it is not going to be mentioned in any legal contracts).
What do you think?