It has been a few weeks that have been filled with tragedy with terrorist attacks and then the horrific fire and loss of lives and homes in the Grenfell Tower fire in London. I have seen it written and suggested that God arranges such tragedies as a punishment for sin. I am confident that this is absolutely not true and there are two incidents in the life of Jesus that tell us how God feels about disasters such as Grenfell.
The first is a conversation Jesus had about two tragedies that happened in Israel. In Luke 13.1 we are told that some pilgrims from Galilee were, for reasons unknown, executed by Pilate and in Luke 13.4 a tower in the Jerusalem suburb of Siloam collapsed killing 18 people. Jesus was asked if they were being punished by God for their sin? And Jesus answers 'I tell you no!'. he's emphatic about it because he wants us to understand that people who fall victim to tragedies, whether they're caused by human evil or natural disaster are not victims of God's punishment.
So how does God feel about Grenfell? The second incident was from John's gospel about the sudden death of Lazurus where John writes that 'Jesus wept' (John 11:33-35). He understands how precious life is, how tragic it is when lives are lost and he weeps with us.
That is how God feels about Grenfell too. He weeps - just as he weeps with those mourning the victims of the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. He weeps over the many Muslims killed in the Quetta bombing in Pakistan. He weeps over the slaughter of Coptic Christian pilgrims in Egypt. God weeps over all human death. One day he'll weep over my death and yours.
Is your hope for the future in the loving God revealed by Jesus, who will weep over your death, or is it in a God who doesn't care about human tragedy?
However you answer that question, I hope your thoughts and prayers will be with those so affected by the disaster - pray for those who mourn - for those who have lost their homes and possessions - and for those investigating the fire, who in the face of enormous public scrutiny and finger-pointing, will be charged with finding a human answer to the question 'why?'