Avalon Chronicles #95: "Tranquillity Among Tempests and Tragedies"
by the Honorable Allen B. Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas Eve 2018 was a very special evening. Linda and I worshipped at Saint Andrew's Church in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. This was the same church in which my father was confirmed in about 1940. It is always nostalgic to visit there and to picture my father and mother in their early twenties walking down the same aisle to the altar rail. We attended the Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols, a beautiful and touching service to reflect on the Savior, Jesus the Christ, and His birth in Bethlehem those many centuries ago.
Along with many millions all over the globe, we celebrated God's sending His Son forth into our world to establish a way to achieve eternal life and to reflect an example for righteous living in a world at peace. The sumptuous buffet at our hotel on Christmas Day left me with mixed emotions, my gratitude for the bounteous provision and fellowship with two other couples, contrasted with my continual reminder of those so much less blessed everywhere in the world.
My New York Times issue for Christmas Day caused me to appreciate more fully my blessings in my land of the free and home of the brave, my United States of America. My peace and comfort that day was contrasted by the reports from many corners of death, oppression, corruption and warfare.
Just on this Christmas Day 2018 it was reported: A ten foot-high wave from a tsunami hit Indonesia and caused at least 373 deaths and more than 1459 injured. Apparently a volcano on Anak Krakatau Island erupted and a portion of the island broke off into the sea, causing the tidal wave. (p. A6).
In Nicaragua protestors to the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega are being hunted down and killed. Protests several months ago resulted in 322 deaths and 565 jailed. Forty years ago "...the leftist Sandinista Front led by Mr. Ortega ousted the Somoza dynasty that had ruled Nicaragua for decades," and today "...he is accused of becoming the very dictator he helped depose all those years ago." Ortega, his vice-president wife, and family members tightly control all the levers of political and commercial powers. (pp. A1, A9). Nicaragua is the same country in the 1980s, wherein was spawned the Iran-Contra controversy.
Protests also developed in Africa's Sudan caused "...by nearly 30 years of frustration over corruption and economic mismanagement." A march to the palace of President Omar al-Bashir was planned for this week. The three year old palace was built by Chinese, who are spreading their nets of influence far and wide globally. (p. A8).
The geographic area where American blood has been spilled for 17 years remains untamed. Government offices in Kabul, Afghanistan were attacked by dissident terrorists, either Taliban or the Islamic State, initiated by a car bomb. At least 29 deaths occurred along with 20 wounded. It took six hours to root out the assailants. (p. A8). (As an aside, an American, who was deployed to Afghanistan in years past told me that in the area in which he was based, the tribal chief had sold the mineral rights in his lands to the Chinese. This served to incense me because, upon our final departure from this blood-soaked country, the Chinese would sweep in and benefit economically from our "pacification" of Afghanistan with "rules of engagement" much less constrained than ours against terrorists).
A giant dam in Ecuador, financed by, guess who, China, expanding its wings of influence into South America, supplanting America's influence, has developed substantial engineering flaws. Originally perceived "...to solve the energy needs and help lift the small South American country out of poverty," instead has burdened the country with insurmountable debt and has not solved its purpose. "'China took advantage of Ecuador,' said Ecuador's energy minister, Carlos Perez. 'The strategy of China is clear. They take economic control of countries.'" Naturally, bribery charges are rampant for the project. (pp. A1, A10). (As an aside, a friend told me the Chinese in their overseas ventures use Chinese labor and not local labor).
Many elites always believe they are untouchable. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is going to jail for seven years "on corruption-related charges." ..."He has been accused of money laundering, tax evasion and receiving kickbacks." (p. A11). Some elitists from the beginning of history believe they are untouchable and anointed and the rules of civility and lawful behavior do not apply to them.
It was 24 hours of a contrast between the tranquillity of my peaceful life among the tempests and tragedies worldwide. Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago to be an example of righteousness and holy living with integrity and purity. We, who attempt to live by those standards, however haltingly and unsuccessfully, may despair of the manifest examples of others, who have failed miserably. But, we must never give up personally in seeking blamelessness in our own circle of life and influence. Only then can we attain a measure of tranquillity among all the tempests and tragedies surrounding us.