Friday, January 22, 2010

God, Life and Everything - Weeping for Haiti

I write a column called "God, Life, and Everything" for the Hudson Valley News. The title reflects the broad scope I want to take. Everything in life falls under the eye of God, and if we watch carefully, we can catch a glimpse of God in it all.

On this mild winter day, I sit day in my comfortable office and ponder the pain and suffering out there. So much pain but always out there, far away from me.

Some people joke that my comfortable office looks like a bomb has gone off in it. I’m a bit of a slob. But I look around and know that it is cozy and warm and safe. The mess is nothing really – a bitter joke compared to the living hell that is Haiti today.

I sit at my solid desk, in this town where the closest we have to natural disasters is maybe a heavy snow, and wonder how is it that those who have suffered for so many years get hit even harder by such a disaster? How can it be? Why do some have it so much easier than others? It’s an age old question, and I don’t have an answer.

The only response I have – especially with such devastation – is to pray. And weep. They are, after all, our brothers and sisters. We weep with them, as I can only imagine God weeps with them.

It’s just a shame that most of the time a lot of us forget that they even exist, living in misery unknown in any other country of the Western Hemisphere. We can easily ignore them because Haiti is so far away. A world away from us.

You and I will undoubtedly reach out to the people of Haiti, will surely reach in to our wallets and make a donation to help them. That is right and good. Resources for donations are listed elsewhere in the paper today.

But let’s go deeper. Let’s pray. Really pray. Let’s pray for rescue of those trapped. For healing for the injured. And comfort for the grieving. Let us pray for rebuilding and recovery – and that we can all be part of it in some way. But for now, let us pray to remember that we are one with those who see no future and no hope. We will carry hope for them.

A friend of mine wrote a prayer for Haiti. It takes in the scope of the tragedy, without pretending to have easy answers about why this should happen. It is simply a prayer – written by a friend, the Rev. Chip Stokes – that asks God’s grace and mercy, always aware than in the midst of the suffering, God weeps too.

A Prayer for the Victims of the Earthquake in Haiti

Holy God, source of life, lover of souls, out of the depths we call to you; in the face of incomprehensible anguish and sorrow, we lift the cries of our distress and implore you to show mercy upon those who are suffering from the destruction of the earthquake in Haiti. We pray for those who have died and for their loved ones who grieve. asking you to hold them in the arms of your love; we pray for those who have been injured in body, mind or spirit and ask you to heal them; we pray for those who are homeless and wandering, for families torn asunder and ask you to shelter them. Strengthen the hands and hearts of those who assist in relief efforts and grant us all firm resolve to stand with our neighbors who are in need, to love them and to offer our generous support of them in this their time of trouble; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.