Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Thoughts on Haiti

If you're a Thrivent member, Thrivent will give one dollar for every two dollars that you donate to Lutheran World Relief to help Haiti. If you've already donated, Thrivent will do a retroactive match. Go here for more details (scroll down). I love knowing that my insurance and some of my retirement dollars are part of this company, so that they can do this work in the world.

I continue to weep over all the human stories coming out of Haiti. I've been censoring my intake of images. I think the human body isn't built to withstand bad news on a global scale. If you're in my house and you tell me your sad news, I can absorb it, I can make us tea, I can hold you close and pray and keep your specifics in my head as I pray for you. I slip into numbness and despair as I contemplate Haiti and the Congo and the homeless in Ft. Lauderdale and I can barely raise my weeping face to pray. Add the relentless images of the television news machines, and I'm ready to just give up, to crawl under the bed and collapse in a quivering heap.

I've been returning to the words of the Bible, of course, but I can't resist pointing out some good reading out there on the web. I love this piece in The New York Times, written by a former science writer for a California newspaper who writes poetically about the instability of the earth beneath our feet. She gives us this quote, attributed to Will Durant: “Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.”

On her blog, Elizabeth Adams has this wonderful post about winter in Canada and contemplating Haiti and Handel's Messiah.

If you want to see or read the message about Haiti from the Bishop of the Lutheran church, Mark Hanson, go here. I give thanks that we don't have a spiritual leader who sees natural destruction as a sign of God's wrath.

The Pretty Good Lutherans website has a host of stories about the earthquake, including the stories of a group of seminarians who were there (and one is believed to be dead in the rubble). By the time you get to the website, you may need to scroll down to get to the stories.

Times of disaster always leave me in wrenching sadness for the victims and in breathless hope, for the way that humans respond by offering money, prayers, skills, stuff. I heard about the planes loaded with relief supplies which had to circle above the island for hours as they waited for it to be their turn to land--I heard these stories, and I try to focus on them, instead of the stories of despair.

Bishop Hanson gives us all a prayer to pray, in case words have failed us: "Merciful God, hear our cry for mercy in the wake of the earthquake. Reveal your presence in the midst of our suffering. Help us to trust in your promises of hope and life so that desperation and grief will not overtake us. Come quickly to our aid that we may know peace and joy again. Strengthen us in this time of trial with the assurance of hope we know in the death and resurrection of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen."

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