Today I took some time to do a Daily Office. Three pieces of Scripture stood out to me:
The first was this,
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
As you can well imagine, the first image that came to my mind was that of the devastation that has hit our brothers and sisters in Haiti. The question that seems to come forward every time a disaster like this happens is “Why would God let something like this happen?” There are a lot of good (and bad) answers to that question out there. Just type the question into Google and you will find at least 75 million sites! I find the whole question a fruitless pursuit that usually end up conveniently shifting blame and responsibility for the state of our world away from ourselves. We want to judge. We want to assign blame, and the last person we want to judge is ourselves. The greater truth is, when bad things do happen, and the wilderness of Kadesh shakes around us, it is our response that reveals more about our God than anything else.
The second piece of Scripture I read was...
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians reflects the words of John the Baptist (who, in turn echoed Isaiah), words that describe the Reign of God as a great levelling where the mountains are laid low and everyone stands on equal footing. I thought immediately of the brief interview I saw with René Préval, the President of Haiti not long after the earthquakes levelled most of Port Au Prince.
In a very sad but real way, all distinctions have been erased from the people of Port au Prince and the surrounding area. Without too much exaggeration we can say that everyone is homeless. Everyone is hurting and struggling to survive in the most horrible of circumstances. Earthquakes, like other natural disasters, do not discriminate. In our response to the desperate needs of the Haitian people one of the greatest challenges will be to ensure that our help also be indiscriminate - treating all people as equal.
The third and final piece of Scripture that caught my attention was,
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
Like most of you, this is my prayer for the people of Haiti.
Please, in response to this prayer, I invite each one of you to do all you can in whatever way you can, for as long and as much as you can.
Let’s leave our judgements behind.