I was in LA making a film (as I recall for Montreal Expo Sermons from Science). Was staying with my friend Keith Price on a top floor of the Universal Sheraton Hotel in Universal City. About 5 a.m. I woke to sense the room shaking … everything was moving. I grabbed the bed and held on, and soon realized this was a California quake (of pretty severe proportions). And I had my morning devotions very devotedly! It seemed there was no fixed point of reference, and felt as if the room might split open and spill me out!
I remember calling the desk and after a slight delay an operator answered. “We have an earthquake I think up here!” I said. She said, “Yes, we have one here too.” I asked whether we should leave the upper stories and she said (Sheraton trains their staff well to make the customer feel at home!) “No, if anything happens the whole place will go”!
My friend Keith and I decided to make our own way, twelve plus stories down the stairs, some of them covered with plaster that had fallen.
Below we went out in our pjs to stand with a crowd of others. I noticed water had been thrown out of the swimming pool by the force of the quake.
Looking up at the high rise hotel with amazement I asked a bystander how they built these hotels to withstand earthquakes.
“First,” he said, “they have to go all the way down to bedrock to lay the foundation on something solid. But then they also pre-stess the structure itself, with give and take in the joints, so that it will not be too rigid and collapse under the pressure.”
Solid foundation – flexible joints.
A parable of kingdom leadership and for the church: to know we have a sure foundation laid in the Lord himself and his Word; but also to have the flexibility of the Spirit to respond to the changing pressures and quakes of our world