Site Map Header

Ottawa Citizen Atricles Tab
Ottawa Creative Writers’ Group

April 6, 2011

Question: How does a catastrophe like the Japanese earthquake affect one’s faith?

The total devastation visited on Japan’s northeast coast by the massive earthquake, tsunami, mass evacuations and the nuclear disaster that followed the great flood, brought grief, sorrow and consternation to every heart. This disaster narrative is still being written.

In every natural disaster, one may find a providence of God. All natural disasters have the potential for bringing out the best and worst in humankind. Compare the bravery, nobility and calm, unhurried discipline of the Japanese people with the murders, robberies, mayhem and mass confusion that accompanied Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 in New Orleans.

Now consider the heroism and self-sacrifice exemplified by the workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in their prolonged efforts to prevent a catastrophic meltdown at the nuclear station that lies a mere 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

Think also of how the bonds of worldwide human solidarity and compassion have been strengthened. Promises of material assistance to that sorely struck land have been made by those affluent nations that are willing and able to help.

The disaster in Japan is a wake-up call for complacent westerners. What makes us think that our turn is not coming, whether the visitation be “an act of God” or a disaster scenario of our own making?

Anne Thomas, a Buddhist Reiki Master living in Sendai who experienced the devastation directly, wrote in an e-mail of March 14, 2011 that “there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment … I can feel my heart opening very wide … this wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.”

I feel that Anne’s intuition of a birthing is correctly pointing to one leg of that “dual phenomenon” to which Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, set out in his world order letters during the 1930s and ’40s: the “death-pangs” of the old and the “birth-pangs” of a slowly emerging new planetary world order. “The one is being rolled up, and is crashing in oppression, bloodshed, and ruin. The other opens up vistas of a justice, a unity, a peace, a culture, such as no age has ever seen” (The Promised Day is Come, p. 17).
- Jack McLean

Home     Contact   Site Map    Web Support

© The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ottawa, Canada 2011