MORE TRAGEDY IN HAITI

The news today tells of yet one more catastrophe in a country so close to our shores, a country with which I am familiar after many years of visits and ministry by our church.

A friend from Haiti wrote this morning and said, “We can’t take anymore.” But they will because the news tells us of an approaching hurricane ironically called ‘Grace’. Our friends there are becoming more hopeless.

I read an online comment this morning where someone wrote, “There but for the grace of God go we.” Not helpful and not correct. It sounds like God specially favors us because God spared us and not them.

My question is, “Where IS God in the midst of the calamities in Haiti?” As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from a prison cell before his execution, “Who is Christ, actually?”. He was asking what about the Jews and others who were killed by the Nazis. The same question could be asked for our Haitian friends. Does it mean the salvation of their souls as their homes tumble down on them and their children die of disease and hunger? That’s not God’s will. That’s evil against which Christ fought and for which he died. And it’s a battle to which we are called.

We are the hands and feet of Christ to reach out to those in dire straits. We are his body and we must show that to the world. There once was a leader who called Haiti a  _____hole. But Christ calls them his beloved and God’s word says that the Lord is close to the needy and broken. And yes, of course that means anyone, anywhere. And I believe that our supernatural God takes every one of those souls into his eternal care, doing for them what we have not been able to do to give them life.

At this moment all I can do is offer my sympathy and prayer for those who suffer there and in so many parts of our world. And I know that Jesus weeps with everyone of those who hurt. He suffers with them. He dies with them. May we all offer ourselves to God in these moments.

When I first heard the song below, my heart broke. I wept.

Who Will Save The Children (Randy Stonehill)

Cry for all the innocent ones born into a world that’s lost its heart,
For those who never learn to dream because their hope is crushed before they can start,
And we shake our fists at the air and say, “If God is love, how can this be fair?”

But we are his hands, we are his voice,
We are the ones who must make the choice,
And if it isn’t now, tell me when?
If it isn’t you, then tell me who will save the children?
Who will save the children?

We count our blessings one by one, yet we have forgotten how to give,
It seems that we don’t want to face all the hungry and homeless who struggle to live,
But Heaven is watching tonight, tugging at our hearts to do what’s right.

But we are his hands, we are his voice,
We are the ones who must make the choice,
And if it isn’t now, tell me when?
If it isn’t you, then tell me who will save the children?
Save the children.

As we observe them through our TV screens, they seem so distant and unreal, but they bleed like we bleed and they feel what we feel.

Oh, save the children,
Oh, save the children,
Save the children.

Now we decide that nothing can change and throw up our hands in numb despair,
And we lose a piece of our souls by teaching ourselves just how not to care,
But Christ would have gone to the cross just to save one child from being lost.

And we are his hands, we are his voice,
We are the ones who must make the choice,
It must be now; there’s no time to waste,
It must be you; no one can take your place,
Can’t you see that only we can save the children?

A New Sheriff in Town

Matthew 5:6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied fully.’

Back in 1968 the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke these words about the Kingdom of God and justice: It’s all right to talk about “long white robes over yonder,” in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It’s all right to talk about “streets flowing with milk and honey,” but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day. It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do. (from the Mountain Top speech)

Righteousness and Justice is not only for getting saved and getting into heaven. It is for now and for here. Of course Christ is our righteousness but he is also our Lord for our day-to-day life. People in Jesus’ day were looking for a Messiah to bring justice to their land. Jesus says that it happens in the Kingdom of God. Jesus made it very clear to his followers that they were to love each other in deeds done out of mercy. They were to be concerned for their neighbor, which basically meant anyone in need. They were to care for the sick, the hungry, the homeless and the imprisoned and well, really, anyone. So those who want to see things get right will indeed meet a friend in Jesus and Kingdom life will include right living, right believing, and right doing.

I often like to say that with Jesus’ entry into the world, ‘a new sheriff has come to town.’