I don’t know about you, but I am overwhelmed by images from Haiti.As Christians, how do we deal with the emotions this type of tragedy stirs up within us? How do we deal with the overwhelming magnitude of this catastrophe? And why did it happen?
For me, the last few days bring back memories and feelings I had last Good Friday during the tornadoes that ripped through Murfreesboro – how devastating they were to our community and to our friends. Multiply that devastation by millions.
As Christians, we deal with all of this by depending on our faith. Be repentant – turn to God. The word repent literally means “turn towards.” Luke tells us that Jesus was asked, after Pilate had murdered people from Galilee who had offered sacrifices in the Temple: “Do you think that those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee? Jesus replied,”Is that why they suffered? Not at all. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloan fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish too (NLT Luke 13;1-5) Jesus is saying that these horrendous disasters are not about sin, but they should remind us to turn toward God -- to repent -- and trust in Him.
One of the truths that I have learned in 57 years is that God’s redemption is in every situation. And God will redeem this disaster as well. I love the quote chiseled in the sign in front of St. Ann’s church in Nashville. (For those of you who don’t know, most of St. Ann’s was destroyed a few years ago by a tornado). It reads:
GOD WAS NOT IN THE TORNADO, BUT GOD IS IN OUR RESPONSE
GOD WAS NOT IN THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, BUT GOD IS IN OUR RESPONSE
So how will we respond? As followers of Jesus were are compelled to respond. We have come up with a threefold plan.
1. I am challenging the people of St. Paul’s Murfreesboro to raise $25,000.00 for Haitian relief. This is an obtainable goal. The money will be made available to Pere Fritz Valdama (known by everyone as Pere Val) and his wife Carmel (who is a nurse and dietician). Pere Val is the rector of five parishes in Port-au-Prince. I have known Pere Val and Carmel for several years and trust them to use the funds wisely and for the good of God’s people. People will be in the narthex of St. Paul's to help collect money after each service through Easter. If you want to help with that ministry by serving at the table, please sign up in the Parish Hall!
2. We will be collecting items to be shipped to Haiti. I am asking that we concentrate on clothing (clean please), kitchen utensils, shoes.Go through your closets – but remember that Haiti is in the tropics – no mink coats please! They need EVERYTHING! Bring these items to the parish office during office hours (8am to 4:40 pm). The Daughters of the King – with the help of anyone who wants to lend a hand (sign up in the Parish Hall) – will organize the sorting, folding and packing of the items. We are working on ways to have them shipped. Boxes for packing and a storage container pod have been donated to help in this effort.
3. When the time comes to rebuild, we will go to Haiti and help with that process.Gail Henry has graciously agreed to oversee our Haitian relief response. Jesus calls us to be his hands and his feet in the world. Let’s be them for our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
Posted on Fri, January 15, 2010
by Polk Van Zandt