There were two earthquakes in Canterbury last week.
One was the actual earthquake that has created such fear and anxiety throughout the region and headlines around the world. Every image and every sound-byte is still so compelling. The bill will press on beyond NZD2 billion. The great 'act of God' in this disaster is that no one seems to have died.
The other earthquake was the collapse of South Canterbury Finance, the largest finance company to collapse so far. The bail-out and guarantees from the government (and tax-payer) will also push on towards NZD2 billion. That is a sizeable amount for this small economy. Take the time to read Rod Oram's column in the Sunday Star Times yesterday to sense the scale of this disaster.
Of course the thing which fascinates about this second earthquake is that it involves the company founded by NZ's most prominent Christian philanthropist, Alan Hubbard - which provides no little energy to the column by Paul Holmes, arguably NZ's most celebrated journalist, as he lets loose in the Sunday Herald here. Scroll down to the second half of the article and feel the poison. Alan Hubbard has been the 'act of God' for many, many Christian organisations in New Zealand. Organisations known to us all have been propped up by his generosity. It is stated that he has given away NZD200 million. Now what happens?!
The after-effects with both these earthquakes are from over. But one thing is for sure - with both of them, this is a great time for the people of God to shine and to be the 'acts of God' for others ... while reflecting, with gratitude, that we live in a country where the financial cost of 2 billion TIMES 2 is pretty much covered and that the personal cost has not involved human death.