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From Burma to China

Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Lk 13, 3

Two weeks ago Burma (Myanmar) was hit by a terrible cyclone. Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands are dead.

A few days ago China was hit by a terrible earthquake. Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands are dead.

Burma is ruled by a military dictatorship, which is said to be very cruel and utterly corrupt, and suppresses its minorities.

China is ruled by a Communist Party which is one of the most Capitalist in the world, and which suppresses its minorities.

Burma is one of the poorest countries in the world.

China, with the largest population in the world, is the fastest developing country in the world and is rapidly becoming a Superpower.

Burma is a country of Buddhist tradition, but has an anti-Buddhist government.

China is a country that invaded Tibet some fifty years ago and has run it as a colony ever since.

There are many, many other facts and also opinions which could be presented to compare and contrast Burma and China.

They are all irrelevant here.

In the face of a catastrophe of fallen nature, human ideologies and systems fall apart, showing their weaknesses, relative truths and artificiality. In the face of death, only one thing counts. This is our triumph over death, the possibility that we may all see each other again on the other side, the possibility of eternal life and bliss.

What can we do?

Of course we should pray for these victims, both the departed and also the living, who suffer so much. Especially in Burma, because there is so little help there for the very poor. Especially in China, because so many one-child families have lost their only child. And of course we can also donate money to charities.

But also we should grow in the fear of God, that is, in the fear of losing the loving protection of God, Who Alone can preserve us from such unnatural disasters. Little wonder that in the China of the economic miracle, voices are being raised to condemn the official atheism of the government. ‘We have forgotten God’, they rightly say.

Yesterday Burma and China, tomorrow, God forbid, ourselves. Man can do nothing in the face of fallen nature. Yes, we have machines and helicopters, yes we have satellites and the internet, to help survivors materially. But no modern technology can console those who are departed and those who have lost dear ones.

Only the victory of Christ over death really counts. Let us strive therefore to be worthy of that and proclaim worldwide: Christ is risen!

Fr Andrew

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