As I have watched with horror, felt great sadness, sensed the deep seated pain of the people of many nations directly involved, I have nevertheless found myself out of step with most Christian people who I respect in my reaction to this disaster.
To put it simply I haven't found myself asking the question Where is God - or why did God allow this? In theological terms for its tragedy its not raised for me major issues of theodicy, and I have wondering and pondering why?
Firstly I think it is something to do with it being a "natural" disaster. Having been brought up in rural environment with a deep respect for the power and natural patterns of nature I seem to have a different way of viewing from our predominately urban influenced society. I think that perhaps that people brought up in towns and cities are not exposed to nature in this way.
Secondly I have found myself seeing in unexpected ways such strong signs of God's presence - whether it be in the immense courage of people who rescued complete strangers from the power of the waves - or that image of a town completely devasted nay flattened apart from the Mosque which remained intact and which reminded me of that WW11 image of St Pauls Cathedral surving the bombing.
Thirdly cos the tragedy did not have a human-mad cause and it seems that there was very little that could have been done in response - this is in contrast to disasters such as war and famine caused by sin.
Fourthly I have found myself becoming slightly cynical about the response from the great British public and the somewhat sickening Government bashing and even more Blair bashing cos he didn't return from his holiday.
But maybe I missing something. I recalled the wonderful expression of the great Spike Milligan who suggested that we are taking something really seriously when we start to see the humour in the situation. Today two experiences have offered me that window.
Firstly in my kids secondary school of 1800 kids it was agreed to keep the three minutes silence (who was it that chose 3 minutes for heavens sake - this could get our of hand). In my daughters year ( 5th year in old education so the really stroppy lot) they awaited the bell as a signal to begin - but it didn't come so they started their somewhat enforced silence ( treachers glaring etc) when after about 2 minutes 55 seconds the bell suddenly goes for the start of the silence so they end up keeping 6 minutes much to everyone's amusement.
More personally for the second time in public ( this time in a school assembly) I have stalled on the word Tsunami - I simply can't remember how to pronounce it on the spur of the moment - so resorted to speaking about the "Indian Ocean Disaster" a clumsy and inadequate phrase at best.
Please do pray for those directly involved of all nations and faiths - I think that is one of the best ways of discovering more of God in this tragedy. Please don't think me heartless - but I just wonder whether other people of faith feel the same and feel obligated not to say so.